Trump Sends Naval Ships to North Korea
Following a unilateral strike on Syria, President Trump sent a message to North Korea by sending a Navy strike group to the region on Sunday. The President hopes the show of force will convince North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un to reconsider his attempts to develop nuclear weapons. North Korea has voiced strong concern over America’s military intervention against Syria’s President Assad, after his use of chemical weapons against his own citizens, calling the action “unforgivable”. Kim’s response seems to undermine any hope of direct negotiations between the United States and North Korea, and raises the possibility of a war if China is unable to restrain its ally.
Kim Jong Un Continues Father’s Nuclear Weapons Program
The threat of a nuclear North Korea was born in 2011, when the country’s current leader took over following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. Although Kim Jong Il tested a nuclear weapon in 2006, the tests were of limited scale at first. It wasn’t until recently that Kim Jong Un attempted to launch long range ballistic missiles with the potential to reach targets in America.
President Trump Reacts to North Korean Missile Tests
These missile tests drew America’s attention. They are typically conducted as much to send a political message as a military one. The first test that occurred under President’s Trump’s administration was in February. It took place during a state visit by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. A second launch came after joint exercises between South Korea and America. The last test took place right before Trump met for the first time with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Kim Jong Un Worries About Loss of Power
Trump’s has limited options when dealing with North Korea. Most analysts agree that President Kim’s goals are more focused on maintaining personal political power than on the status of his country as a whole. Viewed from this frame, the attack on the Syrian airfield proves the need for North Korea to stockpile nuclear arms as a way to prevent the United States from implementing a regime change. When faced with similar circumstances during America’s operation to take out Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il kept out of the public eye for nearly a month, afraid that he would also be faced with a coup or outside political intervention.
North Korea Threatens Japan and South Korea
North Korea has enough radioactive material and refining equipment from Pakistan to produce ten to twelve weapons. The missiles that the country has tested successfully can now strike targets in South Korea and Japan. If the missile testing program continues at the same pace, experts note that North Korea could have trans-Pacific capabilities within ten years. In order to manage these pressures, the United States deployed the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea last month. The THAAD defense system, as well as the similar Patriot defense system developed by U.S. manufacturer Raytheon, would target and destroy any inbound nuclear weapons.
China’s Xi Overlooks Missile Deployment in South Korea
China originally threatened to respond with force if America brought the THAAD system to South Korea. However, given Kim Jong Un’s erratic behavior, President Xi seems to be letting the issue go. China is focusing instead on how Trump’s stance has caused tensions in the area to escalate. Given how the THAAD system functions, it only works against an incoming warhead. It is strictly a responsive system. Some analysts believe China’s main problem with the defense system is its radar capabilities. The radar can spy on Chinese missile tests and launches.
Trump Sends a Message to China
Trump has probably staged this naval exercise as a message to China. This is an attempt to have them help bring North Korea to the negotiating table. China has an outsized influence on the island nation. Trade between the two countries brings in 80 percent of North Korea’s cash inflow. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has already warned the Chinese about the problem with North Korea. The Syrian airfield strike underscored that this option was still on the table.
How Does the Naval Deployment to North Korea Affect Trading
Military contractors Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are the big winners in this deployment. Stock prices for these companies and others in the defense sector should go up. Their defense systems are nearly indispensable in managing the potential North Korean threat. Both of their systems cost nearly $1 billion per installation. Gold will also go up do to global instability. Investors are waiting to see how China will respond to the America’s entrance into local affairs. Finally, the dollar could fall while traders see if President Trump can make his gamble pay off.