What North Korea wants from the US

Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews last week. Credit Al Drago for The New York Times

Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews last week. Credit Al Drago for The New York Times

The latest sanctions, approved unanimously by the United Nations Security Council on Aug. 5, ban North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood, which are worth about $1 billion or a third of the country's foreign revenue.

The U.S. president also contended that increased media attention around Guam - a result of North Korea threatening to fire intermediate-range missiles that would land near Guam - would bring a boom of tourism.

South Korea's presidential Blue House said in a statement on Saturday the United States and China were working to resolve the North Korea crisis.

France, another US ally, weighed in on the tensions on Saturday, with French President Emmanuel Macron calling on North Korea to avoid a further "escalation of tensions". Launching a "bolt from the blue" against the United States, Japan, or anyone else for that matter would be suicidal for the DPRK leadership. This stalemate of two pretend lunatics feigning promises to rain hellfire on each other could stretch on for years.

The Washington Post, citing a confidential Defense Intelligence Agency report, said this week that North Korea has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles. They know that the guiding mantra for him has been not the Art of the Deal, but the Art of the Bluff. The U.S. would require the deployment of ground troops to boost South Korean forces in the region, as well as aircraft carriers to take on North Korea's navy and air force.

China's foreign ministry said in a statement that Mr Xi told Mr Trump a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue was essential, and urged calm. Trump has often used sharp words to argue that China isn't doing enough to rein in North Korea, and has threatened punitive measures on trade if Xi fails to act.

Provocative testing or training also is a way of gauging where Washington's red lines are. Especially if it gives the appearance of talks between equals. Have its recent advances been so dramatic and significant to force the United States to wage a preventive war?

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Just forcing the US to talk would in itself be a success for North Korea.

Earlier in the week, he had had help upping the stakes, spooking markets and frightening all of us from Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant, who thought to spread the fear to Britain, taking to the airwaves so he could disparage US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, one among a few in the administration who seem to be interested in pursuing a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Nearly 6 million North Koreans are reservists in the worker/peasant guard, compulsory to the age of 60. Not North Korea's use of weapons, mind you; just the potential.

It's a tropical paradise with white sand beaches and stunning sunsets, but this American territory since 1898 was fought over for centuries for a different reason.

"The President says, 'George, I'm sorry, but tens of millions must die.' He has to look at someone and realize what death is - what an innocent death is". The Chinese trade announcement is expected to be part of his agenda.

While the governor of Guam shrugged off the North's missile warning and said there was no heightened threat, the government has issued a preparedness fact sheet. China is North Korea's main benefactor, providing most of its food and fuel.

Wresting diplomacy from elite control is an admittedly lofty goal, as is moving those frightened by nuclear terror to international solidarity. A US military officer follows Trump with the 'nuclear football.' It is a briefcase that contains the codes that permit a nuclear weapon to be launched. "North Koreans are not suicidal". Experts have petitioned for them to be taken off hair trigger.

"Stay where you are, even if you are separated from your family", it said.

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