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Trump Threatens “Determined Response” to “Brutal” N. Korea

President Donald Trump (R) greets South Korean President Moon Jae-in prior to delivering a joint statement from the Rose Garden of the White House, June 30.President Donald Trump (R) greets South Korean President Moon Jae-in prior to delivering a joint statement from the Rose Garden of the White House, June 30.

US President Donald Trump called for a determined response to North Korea after talks with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in on Friday where he stressed the importance of their alliance but took aim at Seoul over trade and sharing the cost of defense.

Trump said the United States was renegotiating what he characterized as a “rough” trade deal with South Korea agreed to five years ago by his predecessor, Barack Obama, and reiterated that an era of “strategic patience” over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs had ended, Reuters reported.

“Together we are facing the threat of the reckless and brutal regime in North Korea,” Trump said as he stood alongside Moon in the White House Rose Garden. “The nuclear and ballistic missile programs of that regime require a determined response.”

Despite the tough rhetoric, it remains unclear how Trump will find a way forward on North Korea, which is working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has warned the consequences of any military solution would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale.” Trump had pinned his hopes on persuading China, North Korea’s neighbor and main trading partner, to do more to rein in Pyongyang, although he has lately grown frustrated that Beijing has not taken stronger action.

South Korea is a long-standing American ally but Trump has spoken harshly about US trade imbalances and threatened to tear up the bilateral trade pact.

“We will do more to remove barriers to reciprocal trade and market access,” Trump said, adding that the two leaders had talked about the thorny trade areas of steel and autos.

Trump said he was encouraged by Moon’s assurances that he would seek a level playing field for American workers and businesses, particularly automakers.

A joint statement said the two sides had agreed to work together to reduce over supply of basic materials such as steel and non-tariff barriers. It also said Trump had accepted an invitation from Moon to visit South Korea this year.

 

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