Any hope that the Trump administration will soften its language towards North Korea was dampened today when Vice President Pence said that the North Koreans “are getting the message.”
As reported by the Daily Caller, Pence responded to CNN’s Dana Bash question, “Are you concerned that what you are saying is being taken in North Korea as saber-rattling despite the fact that you’re also talking about diplomacy?”
Bash preferences her question by subtly sharing North Korea’s concern that the White House was using “gangster-like logic” which “decreases the likelihood that this can end peacefully.”
“I think what the president is concerned about, what countries that we’ve visited are concerned about are the reckless and irresponsible actions of the regime in Pyongyang.
Another failed missile attempt notwithstanding this weekend, an unprecedented number of ballistic missile tests, testing nuclear weapons twice in the last year. The time has really come for North Korea to get the message.”
“As the president says, it’s time for them to behave, to listen to the world community and to set aside their nuclear ambitions, their ballistic missile ambitions, and be willing to join the family of nations.
For my part, in some odd way it’s encouraging that they are getting the message, and my hope is that they will continue to get the message, not just from the United States and here in Japan and in South Korea, but on an increasing basis from China and countries all over the world that long ago committed to a denuclearized Korean peninsula.”
Here’s some video…
Pence’s remark can likely be seen as a continuation of a recent theme of his – that the North Korea policies of previous administrations have failed.
He said in a previous interview with Dana Bash for CNN:
“We’re going to abandon the failed policy of strategic patience. But we’re going to redouble our efforts to bring diplomatic and economic pressure to bear on North Korea. Our hope is that we can resolve this issue peaceably.”
Still, the administration has been intentionally cryptic about its intentions regarding North Korea.
Trump has warned North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un to behave but neither he, Pence, nor any other White Official has explicitly said what would be the consequences to him if he doesn’t.
Perhaps the most explicit warning to Kim has come from China’s official newspaper the People’s Daily, which wrote
“Not only [is] Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honors his promises.”
A graver warning to Kim may never come.