North Korea Crisis Strengthens Alliances, U.S. Naval Commander Says
By Jonathan Cheng, Wall Street Journal
SEOUL—Pyongyang’s recent string of missile and nuclear tests has brought the U.S. closer to its allies in Tokyo and Seoul, rather than dividing them as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had hoped, a top U.S. naval commander said.
The remarks from Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, come amid signs of friction between the U.S. and South Korea, and warnings that North Korea appears to be planning to test-launch another intercontinental ballistic missile.
The rapid advance in North Korea’s military capabilities has exposed differences between Seoul’s more dovish approach and Washington’s harder-line strategy on Pyongyang, and also raised questions in Tokyo and Seoul about the U.S.’s commitment to defending its allies in the event of a conflict with North Korea.
On Sunday, after North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test, U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to criticize South Korea’s government for what he called its “talk of appeasement with North Korea.”