News ID: 203874
Published: 1054 GMT November 06, 2017

US president calls North Korean military program ‘threat’ to world

US president calls North Korean military program ‘threat’ to world
US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) attend a joint press conference at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo on November 6, 2017. (AFP)

Speaking in Tokyo, US President Donald Trump has called North Korea’s military program a ‘threat’ to global peace, reiterating the mantra that the ‘strategic patience’ with Pyongyang is over.

In a Monday press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the US president defended his belligerent rhetoric against the North, which has sparked global concerns, even among Washington’s own allies, of escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula, presstv.com reported.

“Some people said that my rhetoric is very strong, but look what’s happened with very weak rhetoric over the last 25 years,” he said. “Look where we are now.”

Trump, who is on the second day of an extended tour of Asia, reiterated that he was considering all options to rein in North Korea.

Trump has repeatedly threatened in the past to use military force against the North.

North Korea is “a threat to the civilized world and international peace and stability,” Trump insisted. “The era of strategic patience is over.”

The US president further said Washington and Tokyo were making joint efforts to deal with the ‘dangerous aggressions’ of the North Korean government.

 

US President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, during a news conference at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, November 6, 2017. (REUTERS)

Abe, for his part, backed Trump’s tough stance, saying the two allies stand “100 percent” together on the North Korea issue.

“We always support President Trump’s policy that all options are on the table," the prime minister said, stressing that it is time to put maximum pressure on the North.

Abe further announced that Japan will freeze the assets of 35 North Korean groups and individuals.

Abe said the unilateral measures are aimed at punishing the North over its weapons program, as well as to attempt to resolve the issue of civilian abductions that took place in the 1970s and 80s.

A number of ordinary Japanese citizens were kidnapped by North Korean agents in that era, in order to train spies in Japanese language and culture.

The Japanese PM’s announcement came only hours after South Korea imposed unilateral sanctions on 18 North Korean bankers for suspect links to Pyongyang’s military program.

Since 2006, the United Nations has adopted multiple rounds of sanctions against Pyongyang. The most recent round came in September following North Korea’s sixth nuclear test and a string of ballistic missile launches.

Trump is scheduled to visit South Korea on Tuesday on the second leg of his first official Asia tour.

The US president is looking to use his tour — also taking him to China, Vietnam and the Philippines ― to strengthen Washington's alliances against North Korea.

Trump began his Asia tour by talking tough about North Korea. Back in the US, however, the media tried to portrait the president as having adopted a more diplomatic approach toward the crisis, saying he was prepared for a meeting with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.

In a pre-recorded interview broadcast on the weekly television news program 'Full Measure,' Trump said he would ‘certainly be open’ to talks with North Korea’s leader.

This picture released by KCNA on November 4, 2017 shows Kim Jong-un (C) on inspection at a military site.

 

This picture released by KCNA on November 4, 2017 shows Kim Jong-un (C) on inspection at a military site.

 “I would sit down with anybody,” he said. “I don’t think it’s strength or weakness. I think sitting down with people is not a bad thing,” he said.

Pyongyang said its missile and nuclear development program is purely defensive and safeguards the nation against aggression from the US and its allies.

North Korea has reacted to Trump’s tour of Asia with a statement published on state media, through which it has called the US president ‘spiritually unstable’ and warned him against making more ‘reckless remarks’ about Pyongyang.

   
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