Kim Jong-un and President Trump have been going back and forth through various media channels, including televised statements and Twitter, but things may have taken a turn that isn’t so virtual. This week, North Korea made a strategic move by changing the location of aircraft, external fuel tanks, and missiles. The change in location would extend their eastern reach beyond the previously projected range of 900 miles.
Satellite imagery has confirmed that the aircraft, tanks and missiles have been moved, but also confirm that no jet is carrying both missiles and external fuel tanks. This means that while the jets may be in place to extend their reach, they aren’t quite prepped to do anything with it.
Trump Speaks Out
President Trump has been making his position of intolerance of the North Korean leader’s behavior clear, but nowhere did he make it more obvious than his speech at the United Nations. Later, his Twitter post was taken by North Korean representatives as a declaration of war, though the White House released a statement specifically denying that Trump had done anything close to declaring war. He simply let the world know that the United States military is prepared to defend the U.S. and its allies from any threats, including North Korea.
It isn’t likely that anyone is quite ready to push the big red nuclear button, but both leaders are making a show of what they have available. This is a common method used before a fight in order to intimidate the adversary. You’ll see it in the strut of a peacock or the bristle of a dog’s coat. This just happens to be on a much bigger scale, with more feathers and fur. And it doesn’t always end in a fight.
For Trump’s part, it comes in the form of flying aircraft north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Saturday, U.S. B-1B bombers took flight in response to Kim Jong-un’s behavior and words. The bombers went further north of the DMZ than they have been yet in the 21st century.
The U.S. military is obviously keeping a close eye on North Korea and its newly placed jets. Aerial photography and satellite images will show if and when North Korea starts adding external fuel tanks and missiles to the same jets, or if the jets move or leave the ground. In other words, the U.S. military will be able to take action if and when they feel it necessary to do so.
As for the North Koreans thinking President Trump has declared war, the only thing he has declared is that the United States military is more than capable of handling anything north Korea sends our way. At the same time, Trump has also made it clear that he does not want to go to war. He says it would be “devastating” for the North Koreans and he hopes they are able to manage the situation without using what he refers to as “the military option.”