Donald Trump stepped back from his usual “fire and fury” threats today and made a diplomatic appeal for North Korea to reach an agreement over nuclear issues.
“It makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and to make a deal,” the US president said in a joint press conference with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in today. “That’s good for the people of North Korea and the people of the world.”
Trump - who has previously sparked outrage by threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea and calling the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, “little rocket man” - said he “hoped to God” he would not have to use US military capabilities against North Korea.
Trump is on a 12-day tour of Asia, where he has made North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes a key issue. According to Politico, the president has asked Congress for another $4bn (£3bn) for missile defence to help counter the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.
President Trump issued a stern warning to North Korea and words of reassurance to South Korea in a major speech Wednesday about his administration’s policy toward the Korean Peninsula.
“Today, I hope I speak not only for our countries, but for all civilized nations, when I say to the North: Do not underestimate us, and do not try us,” Trump said during a speech before the National Assembly in Seoul. “We will defend our common security, our shared prosperity, and our sacred liberty."
The president’s five-country trip will be the longest a U.S. president has spent in Asia since George H.W. Bush’s journey to the continent in 1991, the White House said.