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If Trump’s messages were aimed at deterrence, they failed both in changing Pyongyang’s behaviour and in maintaining American credibility at home and abroad.
In fact, any American efforts to outdo Pyongyang’s military rhetoric will always be a futile exercise, precisely because it will feed into North Korean propaganda about the “existential threat” it faces from the United States.
And with his bellicose and even reckless threats, President Trump’s lack of experience as the commander-in-chief is now on full, public display.
His predecessors tried various options too, but none suggested military options as haphazardly as Trump has done on Twitter.
President Moon Jae-In and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha—the first woman to hold the position and who brings her extensive United Nations background to the job—are both fully committed to pursuing a diplomatic policy of engagement with North Korea, as Moon’s recent speech in Berlin demonstrated.
While the latest escalation of tensions has found South Korea calling for a full reform of its defence industry and installing additional Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile defence units, Moon’s personal commitment to diplomatic solutions should be taken seriously.
Geography is also important: The small size of the Korean peninsula provides no room for surgical-strike operations, and Korea’s geo-strategic location at the centre of northeast Asia means that there would be ripple effects on powerful neighbours like China, Russia, and Japan.
Some began to wonder: Will Canada be within the target range of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)?
Today, Canada is part of the UN Command Military Armistice Commission to supervise the Korean Demilitarized Zone, and the two countries are involved in active joint exercises.
The two countries have engaged in an annual exchange of ships since 2000 and have participated in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise together.
Any form of attack with conventional weapons would have devastating consequences within half an hour, and human costs of war on the Korean peninsula—coupled with the economic and commercial consequences and geopolitical instability—is something that nobody can afford.
Any miscalculation or provocation would be deadly for both sides—a risk that both Pyongyang and Washington are fully aware of, despite the rhetoric we have heard over the past two weeks.