What is the Trump administration trying to achieve in Korea? According to Secretaries James Mattis and Rex Tillerson, we seek “complete, verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament” there.
That is hard enough to swallow for a regime that sees nuclearization as essential to its survival but we have made it worse by demanding this in advance of negotiation. Therefore this looks like a demand for regime change or regime suicide to North Korea’s leadership — not just Kim Jong Un.
Beyond this consideration is the fact that we are steadily upgrading the quality and quantity of strategic assets being deployed to Korea even at the expense of other theaters where military threats are perhaps even more real. This display of increasing military might clearly looks to North Korea, Russia and China like an exercise in coercive diplomacy or an attempt to incite North Korea to start a war and furnish a pretext for an American attack that would necessarily obliterate the regime if not the country.