(CNN) – On patrol in the waters between Japan and the Korean peninsula, the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson represents a show of U.S. military might.
However, President Donald Trump’s message of the day to Kim Jong Un was rather unique, telling Bloomberg politics, “If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it. Under the right circumstances I would meet with him.”
It’s a message to Kim Trump offered on the campaign trail. Trump had been using China to pressure Kim even as his most senior military commanders sounded dire warnings, “I’ll just say that I think the crisis on the Korea peninsula is real as the worst I’ve seen,” said Adm. Harry Harris.
“What I’m concerned about most nights is North Korea, every time they launch we’re not sure if this is a threat missile or not,” said Gen. John Hyten.
A key question: does North Korea have a functioning intercontinental ballistic missile, “Our working assumption right now is that North Korea has an ICBM that can reach Hawaii, Guam, and parts of west coast, for example San Francisco city is under the reach, but we can’t know for sure because North Korea has never successfully tested intercontinental ballistic missiles,” said analyst Sue Mi Terry.
The president sounding an alarming message, “Nobody’s safe. I mean, who’s safe? The guy’s got nuclear weapons, so nobody’s safe. We’re probably not safe over here. If he gets the long-range missiles, we’re not safe either.”
Others warn that a U.S preemptive strike could provoke disaster, “I think that we have to consider that option as the very last option. And for a number of reasons and one of the reasons is because there’s artillery on the DMZ that can strike Seoul, a city of 26 million people and the carnage would be horrendous,” said Sen. John McCain.
CIA director Mike Pompeo is in South Korea for meetings with U.S. military and diplomatic personnel and the first U.S. THAAD missile system has now begun operating with limited capability to shoot down North Korean missiles.