Trump draws two re­sisters over N. Korea

At G-20, Rus­sians, Chi­nese firmly re­ject U.S. re­tal­i­a­tion

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Damian Paletta, Emily Rauhala, Luna Lin, Shirley Feng, David Naka­mura and Dan Lamothe of The Wash­ing­ton Post and by Hyung-Jin Kim, Josh Lederman and Matthew Lee of The As­so­ci­ated Press.

HAM­BURG, Ger­many — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Thurs­day stepped up ef­forts to blunt North Korea, warn­ing that the na­tion could face “some pretty se­vere” con­se­quences over its lat­est mis­sile test and hud­dling for more than an hour with the lead­ers of Ja­pan and South Korea.

The North’s launch of an in­tercon­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile, its most suc­cess­ful mis­sile test to date, has stoked se­cu­rity wor­ries in Wash­ing­ton, Seoul and Tokyo as it showed that the coun­try could even­tu­ally per­fect a re­li­able nu­clear mis­sile ca­pa­ble of reach­ing any­where in the United States. An­a­lysts said the mis­sile tested Tues­day could reach Alaska if launched at a nor­mal tra­jec­tory.

But even as Trump sought to use his prox­im­ity to world lead­ers ahead of the Group of 20 sum­mit to rally al­lies, the White House faced firm op­po­si­tion from Rus­sia and China over any re­tal­ia­tory mea­sures on Py­ongyang.

Asked by a re­porter at a photo op whether he had lost faith in Bei­jing, Trump replied: “Never give up.” But he did not re­spond to a fol­low-up ques­tion about whether he has been dis­ap­pointed in China’s in­abil­ity to con­strain North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un.

Ear­lier in the day, dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in War­saw be­fore his ar­rival in Ger­many, Trump called the North’s

test of an in­tercon­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile “very, very bad be­hav­ior.”

“Some­thing will have to be done about it,” he said, though he did not of­fer de­tails about what re­sponses his ad­min­is­tra­tion was con­sid­er­ing.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ef­fort to forge con­sen­sus among mem­bers of the U.N. Se­cu­rity Council ap­pears to have hit a wall, given the op­po­si­tion in Moscow and Bei­jing to ad­di­tional eco­nomic sanc­tions or po­ten­tial U.S. mil­i­tary ac­tions against Py­ongyang.

Trump had a 75-minute meet­ing with South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in and Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe in a bid to put the two U.S. al­lies on the same page as Wash­ing­ton. No­rio Maruyama, a Ja­panese govern­ment spokesman, told re­porters in Ham­burg that the con­ver­sa­tion was “very vivid” and that the only topic on the agenda was North Korea.

The three lead­ers agreed that China should do more to rein in North Korea’s “provoca­tive” be­hav­ior, said Maruyama, adding that Abe em­pha­sized that “hold­ing di­a­logue for the sake of di­a­logue with North Korea is mean­ing­less.” He added that the Ja­panese leader be­lieves that “it would be es­sen­tial to put pres­sure on North Korea to make it en­gage in di­a­logue se­ri­ously.”

Maruyama said the is­sue of mil­i­tary ac­tion was not dis­cussed with any speci­ficity.

“Great tri­lat­eral meet­ing & din­ner,” Trump wrote on Twit­ter, in­clud­ing a photo of him flanked by Moon and

Abe. U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son at­tended the meet­ing with Trump, along with other U.S. of­fi­cials.

Their dis­cus­sion came the day be­fore Trump’s first bi­lat­eral meet­ing with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. Trump is ex­pected to meet with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping on Satur­day.

De­fense Sec­re­tary James Mat­tis told re­porters at the Pen­tagon on Thurs­day that the launch of the mis­sile does not alone bring the United States closer to war. Mat­tis de­scribed on­go­ing ef­forts to pres­sure North Korea as “purely diplo­mat­i­cally led” with a fo­cus on eco­nomic sanc­tions.

“Diplo­macy has not failed,” Mat­tis said. It is U.S. self-re­straint that has pre­vented “war in the face of provo­ca­tions,” he said, “but our self-re­straint holds, and diplo­matic ef­forts re­main un­der­way as we speak.”

Mat­tis said the United States is still an­a­lyz­ing the re-en­try ve­hi­cle in the in­tercon­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile launched this week. U.S. de­fenses against North Korean mis­siles are suf­fi­cient, and the United States knew quickly that the mis­sile had been launched, he said.

“We as­sume these sorts of things from him,” Mat­tis said of North Korea’s leader.

“We were on duty. As you all know, the radars were up and op­er­at­ing.”

Pen­tagon of­fi­cials this week have sought to un­der­score that the in­tercon­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile threat posed by North Korea is “nascent” and that Py­ongyang has a long way to go in terms of un­der­stand­ing the tra­jec­tory of the mis­siles and re-en­try be­fore they could hit North Amer­ica.

In a dis­play of mil­i­tary power two days after the launch, South Korean jets and navy ships fired a bar­rage of guided-mis­siles into the ocean dur­ing drills Thurs­day.

The live-fire drills off South Korea’s east coast were pre­vi­ously sched­uled. In a show of force, South Korea and the United States on Wed­nes­day also staged “deep strike” pre­ci­sion mis­sile fir­ing drills as a warn­ing to the North.

In North Korea’s cap­i­tal, thou­sands of people ral­lied Thurs­day in Kim Il Sung square to cel­e­brate the launch.

The rally was fol­lowed by a fire­works dis­play along the Tae­dong­gang, a river that runs through cen­tral Py­ongyang.

North Korea of­ten stages ral­lies in the square to mark events that it wants to un­der­score as par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant. A sim­i­lar rally was held last month on the an­niver­sary of the be­gin­ning of the 195053 Korean War.

Thurs­day’s drills in South Korea were aimed at boost­ing readi­ness against pos­si­ble maritime North Korean ag­gres­sion. They in­volved 15 war­ships, in­clud­ing a 3,200-ton-class de­stroyer, as well as he­li­copters and fighter jets, South Korea’s navy said in a state­ment.

AP/JON CHOL JIN

People dance Thurs­day in Kim Il Sung Square in Py­ongyang to cel­e­brate the test launch of North Korea’s first in­tercon­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile that took place ear­lier this week.

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