Trump takes hard line against North Korea
TOKYO — President Donald Trump struck a hard line against North Korea’s nuclear weapons program Monday and urged Japan to do the same as he closed out two days of talks, dinner and golf diplomacy with ally Japan.
The president refused to rule out
eventual military action against the
north and exhorted dictator Kim Jong
Un to stop weapons testing, calling the recent launches of missiles over Japan-ese territory “a threat to the civilized world and international peace and
“We will not stand for that,” Trump said at news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “The era of strategic patience is over. Some people say my rhetoric is very strong, but look what has happened with very weak
rhetoric in the last 25 years.”
The president did not deny reports he was frustrated that Japan did not shoot down a ballistic missile North Korea
recently fired over its territory. Trump instead declared that Abe “will shoot ’em out of the sky when he completes the
purchase of lots of additional military equipment from the United States.”
Trump said Abe had agreed to
purchase “massive amounts of military equipment, as he should,” arguing the U.S. makes the “best military equipment, by far.”
Japan’s constitution was revised
after World War II to include a clause renouncing war and the country spends only about 1 percent of its GDP on
defense. Abe has slowly tried to remove some of the pacifist constraints and is already seeking money to purchase
upgraded SM3 interceptors with greater accuracy and range, as well as other
advanced missile defense systems.
Direct threat: Under its constitution, Japan can shoot down a missile only when it is aimed at the country or if debris is falling on its territory.
As part of his Asia tour, Trump will visit South Korea, where he will forgo the customary trip to the demilitarized zone separating north and south — a pilgrimage made by every U.S. presidents except one since Ronald Reagan as a demonstration of solidarity with the South. Instead, Trump planned to visit Camp Humphreys, a military base about 40 miles south of Seoul.
South Korean police are on the highest alert as critics and supporters of Trump are planning rallies in Seoul during his visit. An official from the National Police Agency says more than 15,000 officers will be deployed to provide security during Trump’s visit and monitor the demonstrations.
U.S. and South Korean officials have said the base visit is meant to underscore the countries’ ties and South Korea’s
commitment to contributing to its own defense. Burden-sharing is a theme Trump has stressed ever since his presidential campaign.