WASHINGTON, DC – President Donald Trump blasted North Korea on Friday saying the “era of strategic patience” with the regime is over during a joint statement with his South Korean counterpart.
“The era of strategic patience with the North Korea regime has failed,” he said during a statement in the Rose Garden with new South Korean President Moon Jae-In. “Frankly that patience is over.”
His statements came during Moon’s first visit to the White House as president and amid a growing sense of urgency over North Korea’s race to develop a nuclear weapon that can hit the United States.
In recent months, North Korea has stepped up its efforts to develop a missile that can reach the U.S. and potentially carry a nuclear warhead, which Trump has vowed would not happen on his watch.
Trump also blasted the regime over its treatment of American student Otto Warmbier, whom the regime had detained for 18 months and released in June in a coma. He died shortly after arriving in the United States.
“The North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its people or its neighbors and has no respect for human life,” he said.
“Millions of North Korea’s own citizens have suffered and starved to death, and the entire world just witnessed what the regime did to our wonderful Otto Warmbier.”
He said the U.S. would work closely with allies South Korea and Japan, as well as other partners, on diplomatic security and economic measures to deal with the “menace known as North Korea.”
But, he warned, “The United States will defend itself, always… and we will always defend our allies.”
Moon also issued a warning to North Korea.
“Any North Korean provocations will be met with a stern response,” he said.
The two leaders did not discuss a U.S. missile defense system that was in the process of deploying to South Korea but was suspended over Chinese concerns. But Moon said the two leaders concurred to strengthen “our overwhelming deterrence.”
Both leaders pledged to strengthen the economic partnership between the U.S. and South Korea.
Trump called on Moon to ensure “fair burden sharing” of defense and for a “more reciprocal economic relationship.”
He said the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea has increased by more than $11 billion. “Not exactly a great deal,” Trump said.
And Trump noted that South Korea could sell automobiles in the U.S., but American automakers could not sell cars in South Korea. “American companies should have that same exact privilege,” he said.
However, he added that he was “encouraged” by his assurances from Moon.
“Economic growth and job creation will be promoted,” Moon said.
Trump thanked Moon for making his first international trip as president to the U.S. and Moon said Trump was the first world leader to congratulate him on his election.
“President Trump and I were able to forge friendship and deep mutual trust,” he said. “This will give us a solid foundation to rely on.”