White House

Trump pledges to work with South Korea on the 'menace' of North Korea

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in call for a determined response to North Korea.
  • Trump says the era of strategic patience "is over."
  • Moon says Trump has accepted an invitation to visit South Korea this year.
President Trump: Patience with North Korea is over
President Trump: Patience with North Korea is over

President Donald Trump said Friday he will work with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on dealing with the "menace known as North Korea."

"The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed, many years that it's failed and, frankly, that patience is over," Trump said.

The U.S. and South Korea are trying to curb the isolated and defiant nation's missile and nuclear programs.

Appearing with Moon in the White House Rose Garden, Trump renewed calls for a "determined response" to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The U.S. on Thursday announced new sanctions aiming to put more pressure on North Korea.

Trump also criticized Pyongyang's human rights record.

"The North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its own people, or its neighbors, and has no respect for human life — and that's been proven, over and over again," he said.

Trump said the death of 22-year-old American student Otto Warmbier was a travesty. Earlier this month, Warmbier died shortly after being returned from North Korea in a coma. North Korea claims he had suffered from botulism, but U.S. doctors found no such evidence.

The relationship between the U.S. and South Korea "is a cornerstone of peace and security in a very, very dangerous part of the world," Trump said.

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 in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2017.
Jim Bourg | Reuters

Moon announced that Trump has an accepted an invitation to visit South Korea this year.

In an Oval Office press availability earlier, the pair said they addressed the escalating crisis over North Korea and trade in a meeting on Thursday night.

Trump said they are in the process of "discussing our frankly many options — we have many options — with respect to North Korea." Trump also said he seeks a more "equitable deal" for American workers on trade with South Korea, a major U.S. trading partner.

Also Friday, Trump's Economic Council director, Gary Cohn, asked Moon for help in working against "predatory" trade practices by China.