North Korea is afraid of Donald Trump

Saturday is the "day of the sun" in North Korea. April 15th is the highest public holiday, the birthday of the state's founder, Kim Il-sung. Saturday is now also a day for which observers are eagerly awaiting. Because if a nuclear weapon test takes place, it will probably be on that day. It would be the sixth such test, and many fear it could escalate.

The US under President Donald Trump has made it clear that the policy of "strategic patience" is over; Trump has had an aircraft carrier relocated to the region. The nervousness of North Korea's neighbor China is particularly great. On Friday, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that tensions should not escalate and that the situation threatened to become "irreversible and uncontrollable".

Trump's rocket strike as a signal to North Korea's leaders

At least rhetorically, however, the escalation is in full swing. "North Korea is looking for trouble," wrote Trump in a tweet this week. "If China helps us, that would be great. Otherwise we will solve the problem without them!" That was shortly after Trump fired 59 rockets at a Syrian airport in response to a poison gas attack in the country. Observers had also understood the rocket strike as a signal to North Korea's leaders.

North Korea's Deputy Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol told the AP news agency on Friday that if the US begins "dangerous military maneuvers", his country will strike first: "We will go to war if they so wish." Han said Trump's "aggressive" tweets heightened tension and "viciously" both sides. North Korea's state media warned on Friday that nuclear war could break out "at any moment," and advised foreigners in South Korea to leave the country.

Martial rhetoric is nothing new in North Korean propaganda, but neighbors and observers are more nervous than usual this time. Second, in Trump, the United States has an extremely unpredictable president. "Violence cannot solve the problem," said China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday. China is afraid of chaos on its border. Even a conventional war could cost millions of lives, especially on the Korean peninsula.