Aug 9, 2017

How past presidents dealt with North Korea


On Tuesday afternoon, President Trump said in response to North Korea's nuclear threats that the regime would "be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen." Secretary Tillerson then said on Wednesday that Trump's comments were sending a strong message "in language that Kim Jong-un would understand."

The threat of nuclear warfare with North Korea is not a new one, and past presidents have had to deal with it in different ways. Here's how former presidents approached the North Korea issue:

Clinton: In 1994, Clinton reached a controversial agreement with North Korea to provide "more than $4 billion in energy aid" in return for the regime to "gradually dismantle its nuclear weapons development program." In his announcement of the plan, Clinton said it was "a crucial step toward drawing North Korea into the global community."

President Bush's administration later discovered at the beginning of his presidency that North Korea was cheating on Clinton's agreement by using "highly-enriched uranium" to develop nuclear material.

Bush: In his 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush identified North Korea as part of an "axis of evil." In 2007, however, Bush wrote a letter to Kim Jong-il, proposing "the prospect of normalized relations" if North Korea "fully disclosed all nuclear programs and got rid of its nuclear weapons," according to a New York Times report.

Last November, President Bush said North Korea is "the last gasp of totalitarianism. The last fortress of a kind of tyranny that is beginning to leave the earth."

Obama: President Obama warned in 2014 that the U.S. would not hesitate to use military might "to defend our allies and our way of life" against North Korea. In 2016, Obama released a statement following a nuclear test by the regime saying "there are consequences to its unlawful and dangerous actions." Obama was criticized for having "strategic patience" with North Korea.

Experts told Politico that Trump's current strategy with North Korea is similar to Obama's.

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