Editor's Note: For years now, Bill has been warning his Private Briefing readers that the United States has generally underestimated the threat from North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. He's made prescient calls on three stocks that have been consistent performers but that should soar once reality "catches up" with American policymakers. Bill is expecting that any day now…
As we've said, it's all but inevitable: Sometime between now and the end of Trump's term, the White House is going to have to grapple with a huge – and potentially deadly – decision about North Korea and its nuclear weapons program.
As the situation heats up by the day, we're rapidly reaching the point where North Korea goes from worry to real risk.
From the beginning, we've maintained that North Korea's nuclear program is an issue that is much more troublesome than the Pentagon would have us believe – and each new development is proving us right.
Just look at the events of the past week…
Korean Tensions Are Coming to a Boil – Fast
On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Trump in a phone call that Beijing is willing to work with Washington on ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
At the same time, on the heels of reports of that conversation, a rumor spread through social media and the bond markets that China was positioning "150,000 troops" along its Yalu River border with North Korea. This may have helped juice bond interest rates a bit, but the rumor was ultimately proven "fake news." On nearly any given day, the Chinese military has as many as 250,000 personnel operating in the region, and Western intelligence agencies reported no evidence that they were mobilizing or edging closer to the North Korean frontier.
But on other fronts, the news of the day was all too real – particularly Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Despite tensions stemming from Washington's assertion that Russia aided and abetted Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's chemical attack last month, both men agreed that North Korea must be denuclearized.
On Sunday, the United States declared it will permanently station unmanned missile-capable drones in South Korea in "anticipation" of conflict with Pyongyang.
Also on Sunday, Tillerson suggested that the latest U.S. strike in Syria was meant to send a message to Pyongyang, which has in recent weeks test-launched multiple ballistic missiles. North Korean officials responded by stating that the U.S. action in Syria was "absolutely unpardonable" and claimed the strike proved that its own nuclear weapons were justified to protect the country against Washington's "evermore reckless moves for a war."
Even as all this was unfolding, a U.S. Navy strike group of two destroyers, a guided missile cruiser, and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson was steaming toward the Korean Peninsula, where it will likely be joined by two warships of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.
These events come just days before North Korea celebrates the April 15 "Day of the Sun," the birthday of deceased "Eternal President" Kim Il-sung – current leader Kim Jong-un's grandfather – amid speculation that Pyongyang will mark the occasion by testing missiles or possibly a nuclear device.
Over the last five years, we've been keeping you updated about Pyongyang's ambitions and efforts – and about North Korean leader the younger Kim's escalating combativeness, especially where the United States is concerned.
That's because, taken in toto, there's only one conclusion to reach here: North Korea isn't just an emerging threat to the United States.
It's an outright danger.
You see, this isn't the first, second, or even third time Kim and Co. have threatened to "incinerate America"…
About the Author
Before he moved into the investment-research business in 2005, William (Bill) Patalon III spent 22 years as an award-winning financial reporter, columnist, and editor. Today he is the Executive Editor and Senior Research Analyst for Money Morning. With his latest project, Private Briefing, Bill takes you "behind the scenes" of his established investment news website for a closer look at the action. Members get all the expert analysis and exclusive scoops he can't publish... and some of the most valuable picks that turn up in Bill's closed-door sessions with editors and experts.