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Trump Assails 'Brutal' North Korea Regime, Vows To Protect Allies

  • RFE/RL

U.S. President Donald Trump (left) made his comments after meeting his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in (right) at the White House in Washington on June 30.

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump has assailed the "reckless and brutal regime" in North Korea and said there was a "strong, solid plan" to deal with Pyongyang’s illicit nuclear and ballistic-missile programs.

Trump, speaking on June 30 after meeting with visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said North Korea’s actions "require a determined response."

The government in Pyongyang has "no regard for the safety and security of its people, for its neighbors, and has no respect for human life," Trump told reporters at the White House Rose Garden.

Prior to his meeting with Moon, Trump had said there were "many options with respect to North Korea."

During his post-meeting press briefing, Trump did not specify the options but said the era of strategic "patience" with the North had "failed."

"Our goal is peace, stability, and prosperity for the region," he said. "But the United States will defend itself – always will defend itself, always -- and we will always defend our allies."

"We’re working with closely with South Korea and Japan, as well as partners around the world, on a range of diplomatic, security, and economic measures to protect our allies and our own citizens from this menace known as North Korea," Trump said.

Atomic Tests

North Korea has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of ballistic-missile launches over the past year and a half as it attempts to develop a rocket capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the U.S. mainland.

The nuclear program and missile tests have been banned by the United Nations, but Pyongyang has said they are necessary to counter U.S. aggression.

Trump called on regional powers and others to implement sanctions and "demand that North Korean leaders lead a better path."

He also called on increased “burden-sharing” for the support of the 28,000 U.S. troops long stationed in South Korea.

Trump did not take questions from the journalists gathered in the Rose Garden.

Moon, who was elected president on May 9, was making his first official foreign trip. During his campaign and early presidency, he has expressed a desire for engagement with the North, while Trump has generally espoused a more-aggressive attitude.

In his comments, Moon said, "Only strong security can bring about genuine peace," adding that the "threat and provocation by the North will be met by a stern response."

Moon also said he had invited Trump to visit South Korea later this year and that the president had accepted.

Before the White House talks, Moon laid a wreath at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, whose father served in the U.S. Army during the 1950-53 Korean War.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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