While everyone was expecting this week’s wargames between US and South Korean forces to signal a new rise in tensions with North Korea, it surprisingly hasn’t happened. 27 days since the last North Korean missile test, signs are that tensions are slowly, but steadily, easing.
North Korean officials have suggested that Kim Jong-un has told them to hold off on further missile launches, and to watch to see what the US does next. US officials, for their part, are starting to give an indication that diplomacy is even a possibility.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had publicly said weeks ago that if North Korea wants to talk they should stop missile testing. Now that they’ve done so, even President Trump says “something positive” might come about, though he added “probably not.”
On the other hand, President Trump tried to take credit for the lack of missile tests, saying it was proof Kim is “starting to respect” America’s might. With no timetable for any talks, however, administration officials may get the message that refusing to talk to North Korea is “working.”