It looks like US president Donald Trump’s New Year’s resolutions did not include tone down the sparring with the leader of a nuclear nation, unfortunately.
It’s only three days into 2018 and Trump is again using Twitter to berate North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un.
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After Kim made a speech stating that the North Korea nuclear button “is on his desk at all times,” Trump responded saying his button was “much bigger and more powerful than his, and my button works!”
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
The tweet was published a few hours after it was revealed North Korea may send a team to South Korea to compete in the Winter Olympics in February. This would also open up a new dialogue between the separated nations.
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, was dismissive of the notion, however.
She told journalists at the UN:
“We won’t take any of the talks seriously if they don’t do something to ban all nuclear weapons in North Korea.
“We consider this to be a very reckless regime. We don’t think we need a Band-Aid, and we don’t think we need to smile and take a picture. We think that we need to have them stop nuclear weapons, and they need to stop it now.”
Haley went on to say:
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“So North Korea can talk with anyone they want but the US is not going to recognise it or acknowledge it until they agree to ban the nuclear weapons that they have.”
Just hours later North Korea announced it had reopened a long-closed border hotline with South Korea, marking a major diplomatic step forward between the two countries.
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At the end of 2017, Goldman Sachs published a report that revealed Trump’s tweets have more of an impact on the US stock market than North Korea missile tests. In a note to clients, the investment bank said:
“We find evidence that it is the US reaction to North Korean testing – and president Trump’s Twitter account in particular – rather than the testing per se, that matters most for global risk appetite as reflected by the Vix.”
At the end of January, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will reveal the next timings of the Doomsday Clock, a metaphor for pending disaster. Last year, the arrival of Trump as president pushed the clock 30 seconds to midnight.
Following on from these latest interactions, it wouldn’t be surprising if disaster is moving closer.