North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile test continues to be the focus in international relations, even as President Trump arrives in Poland to start his second European visit. The test occurred Tuesday and drew immediate international condemnation not just from the United States, but also Russia and China. The missile is thought to be capable of reaching up to 4,000 miles, as far as Alaska. The U.S. response is on the mind of many, so will Trump declare war on North Korea? He's definitely using more intense language.
On Thursday, at a press conference held with Polish President Andrzej Duda, Trump explained that North Korea has been "behaving in a very, very dangerous manner, and something will have to be done about it." He didn't spell out exactly what that would mean, and emphasized that he wouldn't make any ultimatums. It's too early to say whether or not Trump will decide to declare war, but a serious response is more than possible. Trump explained further:
As far as North Korea is concerned, I don't know, we will see what happens, I have some pretty severe things that we are thinking about. That doesn't mean we are going to do it. I don't draw red lines.
Reading between the lines, it's easy to see that military action — or declaring war — will not be the first choice. Trump will be meeting with his Chinese and Russian counterparts at the G-20 on Friday and Saturday. He will surely try to pressure Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, the Russian and Chinese leaders, to use their influence on the isolated communist nation.
He has been preparing for his meeting with Putin by reading tweet-length briefings. Perhaps North Korea has been a topic he's briefed on. As for China, just before Russia launched the missile, Trump had spoken with Xi about the issue, asking him to pressure the North into dropping the push for missiles and nuclear weapons. After the launch, Trump tweeted at China, pushing them to fix the situation.
Then on Wednesday, Trump fired off at China again, accusing them of trading more with North Korea. "Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter," Trump tweeted. "So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!" According to CNBC, trade between the two nations has actually gone down. This seems a misstep in an attempt to build goodwill and work together.
The Guardian reported that China is intent on holding talks between North Korea and other world powers to try and stop the missile and nuclear programs. The UN ambassador from China, Liu Jieyi, said:
We call on all the parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid provocative actions, and belligerent rhetoric, demonstrate the will for unconditional dialogue and work actively together to defuse the tension.
Whether Trump will ultimately show restraint or whether the North will further heighten tensions in some way is all still to be seen. But for now, there are no clear signs war will be declared.