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Opinion: Combination of strength and diplomacy is the right tactic against North Korea

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FILE - In this Thursday, June 1, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks about the U.S. role in the Paris climate change accord in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - The tensions with North Korea are high. President Trump had some tough words for the Asian country, promising North Korea will be met with “fire and fury” if it continues to threaten the United States.

In response, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has pressed on with his aggressive behavior, now threatening an attack on Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean.

The president is receiving criticism for his harsh language and strong stance against North Korea.

History tells us, however, that appeasement simply has not worked.

From the broken 1994 agreement between President Clinton and Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong-il, to the “strategic patience” used by President Obama, the United States soft approach to North Korea has failed.

Not only does North Korea now seem to have intercontinental ballistic missile capability, there are reports it has a nuclear bomb that can fit on those missiles.

In other words, while the U.S. has stayed patient, North Korea has continued to grow its arsenal and become a greater threat to our country.

President Trump was clear throughout the campaign that he would not have tolerance for North Korean saber rattling. Therefore, his approach this week cannot be a surprise – it is to be expected.


On the other hand, the president has also signaled in recent months that, under the right circumstances, he would talk to Kim Jong Un.

Secretary of State Tillerson echoed that sentiment in his recent remarks, while on his way to that same territory of Guam, which North Korea is threatening.

The bottom line is this. Diplomacy is a complicated, multi-faceted undertaking. The fact that the president and secretary of state are sending a mixture of messages is a good thing. It says to North Korea that the United States will stand strong in the face of any aggression but is also open to finding a way to defuse tensions.