Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan said on Saturday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might create “a minor skirmish” militarily so he can “thump his chest and show that he is this new military commander.”
“He is feeling pretty emboldened by all these activities,” Rogers, the GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Wolf Blitzer on CNN. “I think he’s going to continue to do this.”
Kim’s belligerent rhetoric and threats continued throughout the week, leading the U.S. and China to agree on Saturday to work to rid Pyongyang of nuclear weapons — pledging to work together despite years of rivalry and discord.
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry described a "synergy" between the two countries to achieve worldwide security and economic stability.
Meanwhile, Rogers said he was greatly encouraged by China’s stance toward neutralizing Pyongyang.
“The unpredictable part of this is you see a little different behavior with the Chinese,” he told CNN. “They’ve got this on-again, off-again relationship with the North Koreans over time, but they’re their biggest benefactor: about 65 percent of all their foreign goods come through China.
“They are taking a little bit of a different turn here, which is a positive thing against North Korea.”
Should Kim follow through on any of his threats, Rogers said that the most likely target would be South Korea — but that the country's leader, President Park Geun-hye, has vowed retaliation.
“President Park has made it very clear that she will not tolerate that — and they have to stand up to what is this very belligerent behavior,” Rogers said.
Rogers added of Kim: “He’s 30 years old. He’s untested — and we don’t have that predictable profile that we had for his father.
“There are a lot of great reasons why you need to stand up and not let them get away with threatening nuclear exchange with the United States, threatening war with the South Koreans, ratcheting up — almost on a daily basis — with some new threat.
“Park would be very aggressive in responding to any military action or any skirmish that would happen,” Rogers predicted. “It would be in proportion, I believe, but there would be a reaction.”
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