President Trump’s First 100 Days: Week Thirteen
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As President Trump’s 100th day in office approaches, the Trump Administration has continued moving to define the direction of U.S. international relations.
Civilian casualties in Syria
A U.S.-led airstrike on Monday, April 17 in the eastern Syrian province of al-Bukamal is alleged to have resulted in the deaths of over 30 civilians, Reuters reports.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war-monitoring group based in Britain, said in a statement issued on its official website that “warplanes believed to belong to the international coalition targeted… al-Bokamal city located on the Syrian-Iraqi border in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor,” resulting in three militant and 13 civilian deaths on Monday.
Coalition spokesman U.S. Air Force Colonel John Dorrian confirmed that the U.S. led an airstrike in the town of al-Bukamal, but that he could not verify whether the civilian deaths were a result of it, according to Reuters.
“Mother of all bombs”
The U.S. dropped a bomb in Afghanistan last Thursday, April 13, that U.S. officials reportedly nicknamed the “mother of all bombs,” according to Business Insider.
During a press conference, White House spokesman Sean Spicer stated that the bomb, which was dropped in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, targeted “a system of tunnels and caves” that he said Islamic State (IS) fighters used to travel.
Spicer said the purpose of the operation was to deny IS fighters “operational space.”
The Afghan Defense Ministry released a statement that the bomb killed as many as 36 suspected IS militants with no casualties of civilians, according to Reuters.
During a press conference on April 13, President Trump said he is “very proud of the military” and the bombing was “another successful event.”
General John Nicholson, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan whose decision it was to deploy the weapon, said the bombing was a “purely tactical decision,” Reuters reports.
Following tweets by President Trump about North Korea in which he stated “North Korea is looking for trouble,” and that the U.S. will “solve the problem” with or without the help of China, North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Han Song Ryol, said in an interview with the Associated Press on April 14 that Trump’s aggressive tweets were “making trouble.”
“If the U.S. comes with reckless military maneuvers, then we will confront it with the DPRK’s pre-emptive strike.” Han said in the same interview. “We’ve got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a U.S. pre-emptive strike.”
The Trump Administration has since deemed its strategy regarding ending North Korea’s nuclear program as consisting of “Maximum pressure and engagement,” reports the Associated Press.
Vice President Mike Pence, who visited South Korea, visited the Korean Demilitarized Zone which lies between North and South Korea on Monday. He made the decision to approach the military demarcation line on the border.
“We’re going to abandon the failed policy of strategic patience. But we’re going to redouble our efforts to bring diplomatic and economic pressure to bear on North Korea. Our hope is that we can resolve this issue peaceably,” Pence said in an interview with CNN on the premises. He also expressed support for the “longstanding alliance” between the U.S. and South Korea on Twitter.