President Donald Trump returned to his hawkish rhetoric about North Korea on Wednesday, this time signaling he has no interest in talks with Kim Jong Un’s regime.
Two days after the North launched a long-range missile over Japan’s northernmost island, Trump broke his Twitter silence over the latest provocation from Pyongyang. He took to his favorite social media platform with this saber-rattling message: “Talking is not the answer!”
Trump also criticized previous U.S. administrations for doing nothing about the North Korean nuclear threat while also “paying them extortion money, for 25 years.”
The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2017
It’s unclear what the president meant by the term “extortion money.” The United States has sent humanitarian aid to North Korea in the past, most recently when the Obama Administration provided $1 million for flood relief in January — shortly before Trump was sworn in.
Following the Monday launch, the White House was silent for more than 12 hours. There was no official statement or Trump tweet that night. On Tuesday morning, the White House issued a statement from Trump warning the Kim regime that “all options are on the table.”
“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world,” Trump said in the statement.
During a campaign-style rally last week, Trump indicated a peaceful resolution to the years-old standoff with the North might be possible, Trump returned to his hawkish rhetoric similar to his “fire and fury” warning.
“And you see what’s going on in North Korea. All of a sudden, I don’t know — who knows. But I can tell you, what I said, that’s not strong enough,” Trump said, referring to his pledge to order “fire and fury” on the isolated nation if it doesn’t change its behavior.
“Some people said it’s too strong,” he added. “It’s not strong enough.”
“But Kim Jong Un, I respect the fact that I believe he is starting to respect us. I respect that fact very much. Respect that fact,” the commander-in-chief said. “And maybe — probably not — but maybe something positive can come about.”