Trump dis­cusses N. Korea ‘men­ace’

He, Asian al­lies meet, hold talks

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Ken Thomas, Dar­lene Su­perville, Jill Colvin, Vi­vian Salama and Dou­glass K. Daniel of The Associated Press; and by Is­abel Reynolds, Keith Zhai and Peter Martin of Bloomberg News.

HAMBURG, Ger­many — Wrap­ping up his second Euro­pean tour, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump searched for con­sen­sus with Asian al­lies Satur­day on how to counter the “men­ace” of North Korea af­ter its test launch of an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile.

“Some­thing has to be done about it,” Trump said as he met with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping. In a sep­a­rate meet­ing with Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe, Trump said the two were tack­ling “the prob­lem and men­ace of North Korea.”

The White House said af­ter the meet­ing with Abe that the U.S. was “pre­pared to use the full range of ca­pa­bil­i­ties” in de­fense of Ja­pan. Trump and Abe com­mit­ted, the White House said, “to re­dou­bling their ef­forts to

bring all na­tions to­gether to show North Korea that there are con­se­quences for its threat­en­ing and un­law­ful ac­tions.”

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has tried to pres­sure Bei­jing to rein in North Korea, a ma­jor trad­ing part­ner of China, and halt Kim Jong Un’s de­vel­op­ment of nu­clear weapons be­fore they can threaten U.S. ter­ri­tory. Trump has voiced his frus­tra­tion in re­cent days that China hasn’t done more, sug­gest­ing that he may take steps of his own.

But dur­ing their meet­ing, Trump told Xi, “I ap­pre­ci­ate the things that you have done rel­a­tive to the very sub­stan­tial prob­lem that we all face in North Korea.”

Xi said dur­ing the meet­ing that “sen­si­tive is­sues re­main” in the China-U.S. re­la­tion­ship, and more work needs to be done. But he said he had built with Trump a “close con­tact.”

Trump’s ex­ten­sive sched­ule of meet­ings with Abe, Xi, Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May and oth­ers came on the fi­nal day of the an­nual Group of 20 sum­mit, which has been marked by vi­o­lent demon­stra­tions by anti-glob­al­iza­tion ac­tivists. Trump also had a brief, un­sched­uled meet­ing with Turkey’s Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan about the sit­u­a­tion in Syria.

Abe, speak­ing through a trans­la­tor, noted that the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the Asia Pa­cific re­gion has be­come “in­creas­ingly se­vere” be­cause of North Korea’s push to de­velop its bal­lis­tic mis­sile and nu­clear pro­gram. Abe said he wanted to “demon­strate the ro­bust part­ner­ship as well as the bonds” be­tween Ja­pan and the U.S. on the is­sue.

Xi and Abe also met Satur­day on the side­lines of the G-20 sum­mit as they seek to over­come years of rocky ties to bet­ter han­dle the mil­i­tary threat from North Korea.

In their 40-minute meet­ing, the lead­ers agreed to en­hance talks and ex­changes, and con­tinue to put pres­sure on Py­ongyang, ac­cord­ing to Ja­pan’s Ky­odo News. It was the two lead­ers’ first for­mal dis­cus­sion in 10 months.

Abe held a “very friendly” meet­ing with Xi, Ja­panese For­eign Min­istry spokesman No­rio Maruyama told re­porters in Hamburg. The Ja­panese leader told Xi that he wants a sum­mit be­tween Ja­pan, China and South Korea at the “ear­li­est pos­si­ble” op­por­tu­nity, Maruyama said. Abe in­vited Xi to visit next year, Ky­odo re­ported.

North Korea’s suc­cess­ful test launch of an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile was a mile­stone in its long-term ef­fort to build a mis­sile that could carry a nu­clear war­head to at­tack the United States.

The is­sue was a fre­quent topic of dis­cus­sion at the sum­mit, and the White House said ear­lier that the U.S., South Korea and Ja­pan were press­ing for ad­di­tional mea­sures against North Korea to demon­strate the “se­ri­ous con­se­quences” for its lat­est provo­ca­tions.

The three na­tions have been call­ing for “early adop­tion” of a new U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion and ad­di­tional sanc­tions against Py­ongyang.

Get­ting China on board is a key part of the plan. The ad­min­is­tra­tion wants China to fully en­force in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions in­tended to starve Py­ongyang of rev­enue for its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams. But Trump has been dis­sat­is­fied with China’s re­sponse.

Ear­lier in the week, he vented on Twit­ter that trade be­tween China and North Korea had grown nearly 40 per­cent at the start of 2017. “So much for China work­ing with us — but we had to give it a try!”

Trump of­fi­cials said later that the pres­i­dent hadn’t given up on the re­la­tion­ship.

SHOW OF FORCE

Also Satur­day, of­fi­cials said two U.S. bombers flew to the Korean Penin­sula to join fighter jets from South Korea and Ja­pan for a prac­tice bomb­ing run Fri­day as part of a train­ing mis­sion in re­sponse to North Korea’s bal­lis­tic mis­sile and nu­clear pro­grams.

U.S. mil­i­tary of­fi­cials de­scribed the mis­sion as a de­fen­sive show of force and unity from the three al­lied na­tions, and said it demon­strated “the iron­clad U.S. com­mit­ment to our al­lies.”

“North Korea’s ac­tions are a threat to our al­lies, part­ners and home­land,” Gen. Ter­rence O’Shaugh­nessy, U.S. Pa­cific Air Forces com­man­der, said in a state­ment from Pa­cific Air Forces. “Let me be clear: If called upon we are trained, equipped and ready to un­leash the full lethal ca­pa­bil­ity of our al­lied air forces.”

The U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers from An­der­sen Air Force Base on the is­land of Guam con­ducted a 10-hour se­quenced bi­lat­eral mis­sion with South Korean and Ja­panese fighter jets, the state­ment said.

“U.S. bombers and Repub­lic of Korea fight­ers are just two of many lethal mil­i­tary op­tions at our dis­posal,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas Berge­son, U.S. Forces Korea deputy com­man­der. “This mis­sion clearly demon­strates the U.S.-[Repub­lic of Korea] al­liance re­mains pre­pared to use the full range of ca­pa­bil­i­ties to de­fend and to pre­serve the se­cu­rity of the Korean Penin­sula and re­gion.”

When the B-1Bs reached the Korean Penin­sula, they were joined by South Korean F-15 fighter jets and U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets. The B-1Bs prac­ticed what of­fi­cials called “at­tack ca­pa­bil­i­ties” by re­leas­ing in­ert weapons at the Pil­sung Range.

As the bombers re­turned to Guam, they flew over the East China Sea with F-2 fighter jets of the Ja­pan Air Self-De­fense Force, the state­ment said.

“The U.S.-Ja­pan al­liance and the re­la­tion­ship be­tween our mil­i­taries are stronger than they have ever been,” said Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez, U.S. Forces Ja­pan com­man­der. “We con­tinue to train with our Ja­panese al­lies to en­sure we are ready to de­fend our­selves from at­tack.”

MEET­ING WITH PUTIN

Ear­lier Satur­day, Trump said he had a “tremen­dous meet­ing” with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, his first com­ments about the Fri­day talks with the Rus­sian leader. Trump raised the is­sue of Rus­sia’s med­dling in the 2016 elec­tions and dis­cussed plans for a cease-fire in Syria.

U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son said Fri­day that Trump and Putin had a “ro­bust and lengthy” dis­cus­sion about Rus­sian election in­ter­fer­ence but Putin de­nied any in­volve­ment.

Putin, in a news con­fer­ence Satur­day, of­fered his ver­sion of events and said he thought Trump be­lieved his in-per­son de­nials of Rus­sian med­dling. White House of­fi­cials trav­el­ing aboard Air Force One did not dis­pute that ac­count.

Tiller­son, who took part in the meet­ing, said Trump had been “rightly fo­cused on how do we move for­ward from some­thing that may be an in­tractable dis­agree­ment at this point?”

Trump also joined a women’s en­tre­pre­neur­ial fi­nance event, a project spear­headed by his daugh­ter and se­nior ad­viser Ivanka Trump. He lauded his daugh­ter’s ef­forts to help fe­male en­trepreneurs, jok­ing that “if she weren’t my daugh­ter, it would be so much eas­ier for her.”

Trump was fly­ing back to Wash­ing­ton on Satur­day evening af­ter the con­clu­sion of the an­nual G-20 meet­ings. He won’t be state­side for long: The pres­i­dent is sched­uled to re­turn to Europe this week to at­tend Bastille Day celebrations in Paris.

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