TOKYO: The time for “strategic patience” with North Korea is over, US President Donald Trump warned Monday, after winning Japan’s backing for his policy of considering all options to rein in the rogue state.
Trump described the North’s nuclear program as “a threat to the civilized world and international peace and stability” on the second day of his Asia tour dominated by the crisis.
The president has signaled in the past that Washington could look beyond a diplomatic solution to the North’s nuclear weapons ambitions and consider military intervention.
“The era of strategic patience is over,” he declared alongside his host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Under former president Barack Obama, the United States had ruled out engaging the North until it made a tangible commitment to de-nuclearization.
Washington hoped sanctions pressure and internal stresses in the isolated country would bring about change but critics said the policy gave Pyongyang room to push ahead with its nuclear ambitions.
Close ally Abe echoed Trump’s remarks, voicing Japan’s support for Washington’s policy that “all options are on the table” to deal with the North Korean threat – including military force.
Abe, whose country is in the firing line of North Korean missiles, also announced Japanese sanctions on the assets of 35 North Korean groups and individuals.
The United Nations has adopted multiple rounds of sanctions against the reclusive North, the most recent in September following its sixth nuclear test and a flurry of missile launches.
Pyongyang showed no sign of let-up in its attacks on Trump, with ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun calling him the “lunatic old man of the White House” and saying there was no telling when he would start a nuclear war.