Trump declares end to ‘era of strategic patience’ with N Korea


WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump on Friday said he and South Korean President Moon Jae In are working on a “determined response” to the military threat posed by North Korea.

“The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed,” Trump said, adding “frankly that patience is over.”

North Korea’s recent missile launches and nuclear tests have alarmed the world and increased tensions over its violation of UN Security Council resolutions aimed at blocking nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula.

The US, South Korea and other partners in the international community are pursuing the goal of bringing an end to the programmes.

Moon said the problem posed by North Korea’s nuclear programme “must be resolved without fail” and urged Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table.

“Our two leaders will employ both sanctions and dialogue in phased and comprehensive approach,” Moon said. “Threat and provocations by the North will be met by a stern response.”

Trump said South Korea, Japan and other partners are working on a range of diplomatic and economic measures to protect US allies and interest from the “menace” posed by North Korea.

The strategy includes encouraging other countries to implement existing sanctions.

On Thursday the US announced new sanctions against China’s Bank of Dandong over its alleged dealings with North Korea and against two individuals and a shipping company.

Trump on Friday demanded the North Korean regime “choose a better path – and do it quickly – and a different future for its long-suffering people.” He added that the US goal is peace and stability for the Korean Peninsula, but said the US would always defend its allies.

Trump and Moon also discussed trade.

The United States and South Korea are renegotiating a trade deal, and Trump predicted the outcome would be “much different” than the current deal, but still “good for both parties.”

While he said he was gratified over new deals such as a 25- billion-dollar agreement on the purchase of US liquefied natural gas, “tough trade issues” regarding cars and steel remained.

Trump complained that the US trade deficit with South Korea increased by more than 11 billion dollars between 2011-16.

He said US carmakers should have the same privileges in South Korea as South Korean carmakers have in the US and he urged South Korea to stop enabling the dumping of Chinese steel.

He said he was encouraged by Moon’s assurances that he will work to create a level playing field and give US manufacturers “a fair shake.”

Moon called the economic partnership between the US and South Korea “an essential pillar of alliance.”

Moon, who won election on May 9, two months after a court upheld the impeachment of former president Park Geun Hye over a corruption scandal, also conveyed “heartfelt sympathy to the American people and family of Otto Warmbier,” a US student who died June 19, one week after being released by North Korea in a coma.

Moon’s visit began Thursday night when the two leaders and their wives had dinner at the White House. Moon also met with US Vice President Mike Pence and laid a wreath at the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

He said he and Trump forged a friendship and mutual trust during their visit, and he said Trump accepted his invitation to visit South Korea later this year.