By Jake Mulick
The United States and South Korea engaged in an annual joint military exercise on Aug. 2, according to CNN. The state-run North Korean newspaper Rodung Simnu warned against the exercise as it could further inflame the tense rhetoric between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Tension between the two nations has risen since a U.N. joint resolve to enforce heavier sanctions on North Korea, according to The New York Times. The joint resolution affected the country’s ability to export coal, which accounts for 34 percent of the country’s exports as of 2015, according to an evaluation of the country’s currency conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Following the U.N. sanctions, Kim announced the country would retaliate “thousands of times over” and would threaten possible military action, according to The New York Times.
Trump later responded that North Korea would see “fire and fury like the world has never seen” in a media appearance on Aug. 8 in Bedminster, New Jersey.
On the same day, the Washington Post reported that Pyongyang had developed nuclear warheads small enough to be placed on long range ballistic missiles that could reach the United States.
Kim threatened to engulf Guam, the first target announced by the North Korean leader, in an “enveloping fire,” according to NPR.
“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!” Trump tweeted on Aug. 11.
This rhetoric was condemned by both the Chinese and South Korean governments, according to CNN. China, as a trading partner to both North Korea and the U.S., condemned the escalation of military talks between the two countries in an official statement.
South Korea is also a potential target as there are 35,000 American troops stationed there, according to the Guardian as of Aug. 9.
North Korea’s continued proliferation and advancement of nuclear weapons has created a fear of possible nuclear strikes on Guam, South Korea and America.
Trump’s aggravation of the situation was criticized by the press and his contemporaries including Steven Bannon, according to The New York Times. At the moment, the back and forth between the two nations has met a standstill.