North Korea could feel threatened if U.S. President Donald Trump visits the demilitarized zone on the inter-Korean border next month, a U.S. expert said Friday.
Trump could include a trip to the buffer zone dividing South and North Korea when he visits Seoul from Nov. 7-8, according to news reports. There are concerns it could provoke Pyongyang amid high tensions over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
“They’re seeing almost everything as a threat,” Sue Mi Terry, a former Korea analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, said during a discussion on North Korea.
She noted that Trump has called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a “Rocket Man” on a suicide mission and threatened to “totally destroy” the country if necessary.
“They already see him as a very provocative person,” she said. “Anything that he does will be continually seen that way.”
Terry voiced strong opposition to the use of military action against North Korea, saying it could have “catastrophic consequences” for the 20 million people living in Seoul.
“I think North Korea will retaliate if there’s a military strike,” she said. “In this ‘track 2’ meeting I had with North Koreans, they emphasized that they didn’t go through this level of pain that they had gone through to acquire nuclear weapons -- spending millions of dollars -- just to be able to, to paraphrase their own words: ‘We’re not just going to perish without being able to use them if we think the attack for regime change is coming.’“ (Yonhap)