WASHINGTON:US President Donald Trump on Friday called the North Korean government “reckless and brutal” and said America was running out of patience with Pyongyang, promising a “determined response” to its threats.
“The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed,” Trump said at joint appearance with visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House. “And, frankly, that patience is over.”
The US has been dialling up pressure on North Korea in recent days. on Thursday, it sanctioned a Chinese bank and several Chinese nationals dealing with Pyongyang, effectively signalling the end of Trump’s efforts to persuade Beijing to use its influence on North Korea.
He did not mention China in his remarks on Friday when he called “other regional powers and all responsible nations” to join the US, South Korea and Japan to enforce sanctions put in place to force North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons programme.
At a similar joint appearance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week, Trump had said, “The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with, and probably dealt with rapidly.”
In April, India joined a UN-led sanctions regime that prohibits signatory countries from selling or supplying North Korea equipment or material that could be used in the production of nuclear weapons, missiles or other weapons of mass destruction.
North Korea has been a top foreign policy concern for the Trump, who has found himself tested from early days of his presidency by Pyongyang’s threats of attacks on the American mainland and missile tests that have alarmed US allies in the region.
The death of American student Otto Warmbier, who succumbed to injuries he is suspected of having suffered during his imprisonment in North Korea, has added to the growing frustration.
“Our goal is peace, stability and prosperity for the region,” Trump said, in a prepared statement on Friday. “But the United States will defend itself, always will defend itself — always. And we will always defend our allies.”
Moon, who ran for the presidency on a plank of advocating dialogue with North Korea, said he agreed with Trump that only “strong security” can bring peace to the region. “We concurred to strengthen our overwhelming deterrence, that threats and provocations from the North will be met with a stern response.”