Pres. Trump: US patience with the North Korean regime ‘is over’

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 30: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in deliver a joint statements in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Moon is on a three-day visit in Washington. He had an Oval Office meeting with President Trump prior to joint statements. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump, speaking alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in, declared Friday the US’ patience with the North Korean regime “is over.”

“The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed,” Pres. Trump declared from the Rose Garden. “And frankly, that patience is over.”

Pres. Trump said that the US is facing “the threat of the reckless and brutal regime in North Korea,” adding the North Korean regime “has no regard for the safety and security of its people or its neighbors.”

“The North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its people or its neighbors and has no respect for human life — and that’s been proven over and over again,” Pres. Trump said.

Pres. Trump also thanked Moon for expressing his condolences over the death of the American student Otto Warmbier, who died after more than a year of imprisonment in North Korea.

The South Korean President’s visit to the White House comes amid an increasing sense of urgency concerning North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and after Pres. Trump approved a series of measures designed to ratchet up pressure on North Korea.

The Treasury Department on Thursday imposed new sanctions on a Chinese bank and several Chinese nationals while the State Department approved a $1 billion arms deal with Taiwan — both moves that appear aimed at unsettling China, which has resisted applying heavier pressure on North Korea as the US has urged.

Pres. Trump has expressed frustration in the last week about the ineffectiveness so far of China’s modest pressure on North Korea and suggested the need to change the US’ approach. Top Trump administration officials in recent days have said that China is not doing enough to pressure North Korea and have stressed the increasing urgency of the situation.

But Pres. Trump’s discussions with Moon have also focused on the trading relationship between the two countries, following Trump’s criticism of the bilateral free trade deal between the two countries, which Pres. Trump has called a bad deal for the US.

“We are renegotiating a trade deal right now as we speak with South Korea and hopefully it will an equitable deal, a fair deal to both parties,” Pres. Trump said as he greeted Moon in the Oval Office on Friday morning. “It’s been a rough deal for the United States but I think that it will be much different for the United States.”

But even on trade, China appeared to be at the forefront of the administration’s mind.

In remarks during the bilateral meeting between the US and South Korean sides, National Economic Director Gary Cohn knocked China’s “predatory practices” on trade and said the Trump administration hopes to partner with South Korea to jointly tackle Chinese trade abuses that impact both countries.