President Donald Trump voiced his frustration at the the lack of progress that diplomatic talks and economic sanctions have had on the Kim Jong-un regime in North Korea with regard to the Asian nation’s nuclear program and continuing ballistic missile tests. Speaking alongside South Korea President Moon Jae-in, Trump declared that U.S. “patience is over” and urged the international community to confront North Korea with a “determined response.”
In welcoming South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, to the White House, President Donald Trump, according to The Guardian, doubled down on his labeling of Kim Jong-un’s government as a “brutal regime,” the same charge he made subsequent to the death of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, who died within days of being returned to the United States in a vegetative state, a state acquired, according to allegations, by his treatment while a prisoner of North Korea for over a year.
“Together, we are facing the threat of the reckless and brutal regime in North Korea. The nuclear and ballistic missile programs of that regime require a determined response,” Trump said.
“The North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its people, for its neighbors and has no respect for human life,” he added.
Trump seemed to be venting his frustrations at the concerted effort by the international community to place stricter economic sanctions on North Korea for their failure to end its pursuit of an expanded nuclear weapons program. The sanctions, United Nations reprimands, and Security Council resolutions, and increased U.S. military presence (including three aircraft carrier strike groups off the Korean Peninsula) have had no effect other than to prompt North Korea’s state-run media to continue a barrage of threatening and bellicose rhetoric it has directed toward Donald Trump and his administration that has been ongoing since before his inauguration in January. Just after Trump called North Korea a “brutal regime” for its imprisonment and alleged treatment of Warmbier, North Korea fired back, calling Trump a “psychopath” and likening him to Adolf Hitler, his polices akin to “Nazism in the 21st century.”
President Trump also took a verbal swipe at the preceding administrations’ dealings with North Korea.
“The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed, many years it has failed. Frankly, that patience is over.”
Although he eschewed diplomatic talks with North Korea, Trump insisted that the international community unite in sanctioning the Kim Jong-un regime.
“The United States calls on other regional powers and all responsible nations to join us in implementing sanctions and demanding that the North Korean regime choose a better path and do it quickly and a different future for its long suffering people,” President Trump said.
His South Korean counterpart stated that his government was in agreement with the United States on the nuclear and missile threat posed by North Korea. However, President Moon was more open to keeping diplomatic channels open between Seoul and Pyongyang.
“President Trump and I decided to place a top priority on addressing this issue,” he said at the White House, “and coordinate closely on relevant policies. To this end, we will employ both sanctions and dialogue in a phased and comprehensive approach… to seek a fundamental resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem.”
An indication of the Trump administration’s growing frustration with North Korea came in several moves directed at the rogue nation via China. China, North Korea’s strongest ally, has attempted to reach out to Pyongyang to get concessions and/or compliance with regard to halting its nuclear program — with little success. And although Trump himself tweeted that China had at least tried to talk with North Korea, the signals sent to China this week were aimed at those with ties to North Korea.
CNN reported that the Treasury Department on Thursday imposed new sanctions on a Chinese bank and several Chinese nationals.
“We are in no way targeting China with these actions,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters, according to The Hill. “This is about North Korea and how serious we are taking this.”
Another sign that the Trump administration is becoming impatient for a change in North Korea’s nuclear program stance is the report that military officials have presented President Trump with an updated set of options to deal with North Korea.
“The threat is much more immediate now,” National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster told reporters prior to President Moon Jae-in’s visit, CNN reported. “We can’t repeat the same failed approach of the past. The President has directed us to not do that and to prepare a range of options, including a military option, which nobody wants to take.”
North Korea has yet to respond to the new round of statements and developments.
[Featured Image by Susan Walsh/AP Images]