U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned that Washington could use a full range of military options against North Korea “if needed,” while urging Pyongyang to come to the negotiating table.
At a joint news conference following a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Seoul, Trump said the country would use “all available tools” to stop North Korea’s nuclear program.
“The United States stands prepared to defend itself and its allies using the full range of our unmatched military capabilities if need be,” the President said. “We have many things happening that we hope, we hope – in fact, I’ll go a step further – we hope to God we never have to use.”
He added, however, that his administration had made “a lot of progress” on North Korea.
“I think they understand we have unparalleled strength,” the President said, a reference to the three U.S. Nimitz-class supercarriers and one nuclear submarine currently deployed in Asia. “There’s never been strength like it.”
“It makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal that is good for the people of North Korea and for the world,” Trump told reporters, saying that he hoped to see a day “where all Koreans can enjoy the liberty and prosperity you’ve achieved in South Korea.”
The President also called on “all responsible nations” to stop Pyongyang’s ambitions to develop nuclear weapons, and urged countries to “cease trade and business entirely with North Korea.”
Trump said that Seoul planned to order “billions of dollars” of U.S.-made military equipment, with South Korea’s President Moon telling press that he and Trump had agreed to begin negotiations to “acquire and develop the state-of-the-art military reconnaissance assets.”
“We will pursue cooperation at an unprecedented level to enhance South Korea’s self-defense capabilities,” Moon said, adding that both leaders had “reached the final agreement in completely abolishing the payload limit on South Korean missiles.”
The two discussed the issue in early September, and South Korea’s Presidential office said in a statement that the revised missile guideline has now been adopted.
Moon reiterated both countries would place “maximum level of pressures and sanctions” until North Korea abandoned its nuclear program and expressed a willingness to pursue dialogue.
The conference struck a slightly different tone to the one held between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday, in which the two appeared to completely rule out talks with the North.
“There is no point in the dialogue for the sake of dialogue with North Korea,” Abe said. “Now is the time not for dialogue but for applying maximum level of pressure on North Korea.”
The briefing also saw Trump insist that the former U.S. policy of strategic patience towards North Korea was “over.”
The U.S. President arrived at Osan Air Base, South Korea at 1220 KST on Tuesday, before heading to the U.S. Army Garrison Camp Humphreys – the largest American military installation in the South.
Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech at the National Assembly tomorrow morning, before departing for Beijing to hold talks with President Xi Jinping.
Featured Image: South Korean Presidential office
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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