Trump touts China in union against North Korea

Pence: ‘Strate­gic pa­tience’ with Py­ongyang is over

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - BY DAVE BOYER

The White House said Mon­day that Pres­i­dent Trump’s new bond with China’s pres­i­dent is “pay­ing off” with North Korea, de­spite Py­ongyang’s at­tempted mis­sile test over the week­end.

“I think you’re see­ing China play­ing a much more ac­tive role with re­spect to North Korea,” said White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer. “They have taken some very help­ful ac­tions and ex­hib­ited pos­i­tive signs on the diplo­matic front as well. It’s en­cour­ag­ing, the signs that China is show­ing.”

North Korea tried to launch a medium-range mis­sile Sun­day, but the test failed just as Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence was ar­riv­ing in South Korea for talks. A North Korean of­fi­cial told the BBC that Py­ongyang will “be con­duct­ing more mis­sile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly ba­sis,” adding that an “all-out war” would re­sult if the U.S. took mil­i­tary ac­tion.

Asked for ev­i­dence that the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ef­forts are hav­ing any im­pact on North Korea’s weapons pro­gram, Mr. Spicer said, “I think we’re just not there yet.”

Mr. Pence warned North Korea not to test the “re­solve” of Mr. Trump, say­ing the U.S. “era of strate­gic pa­tience” with North Korea was over.

Mr. Trump held talks with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping two weeks ago in Florida, urg­ing the Chi­nese leader to ex­ert more pres­sure on its neigh­bor North Korea to scale back its nu­clear weapons pro­gram. China re­port­edly has been re­fus­ing ship­ments of North Korean coal, a ma­jor ex­port for that coun­try.

“The pres­i­dent had a re­ally good meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Xi,” Mr. Spicer said. “The re­sults of that are pay­ing off. I think to see them cur­tail some of that has a real eco­nomic im­pact on the re­gion. Both po­lit­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally, they can con­tinue to ap­ply pres­sure to achieve re­sults. And I think we’re go­ing to con­tinue to urge China to ex­hibit its in­flu­ence in the re­gion to get bet­ter re­sults.”

Mr. Spicer said the “era of strate­gic pa­tience was a pol­icy that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion en­acted to ba­si­cally wait and see.”

“We have now un­der­stood that that pol­icy is not one that is pru­dent for the United States,” he said.

The U.S. hasn’t said what other steps it might take.

Su­san Thornton, act­ing as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for East Asia, said the U.S. is fo­cused “on get­ting some tan­gi­ble sig­nal from the North Korean regime that it is se­ri­ous about en­gag­ing in talks, and such sig­nals would not in­clude things like launch­ing il­le­gal mis­siles, as hap­pened over the week­end.”

“I don’t think there’s a re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tion of some kind of se­ri­ous en­gage­ment from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity while the North Kore­ans are con­tin­u­ing in all of this provoca­tive and, frankly, il­le­gal be­hav­ior,” she said. “We need to see that there’s some kind of a dif­fer­ent path for­ward be­fore we can en­gage in any kind of se­ri­ous dis­cus­sions with them.”

Mil­i­tar­ily or other­wise, the White House said Mr. Trump doesn’t plan to re­veal his hand to North Korea.

“For us to tele­graph what we’re go­ing to do or what we’re go­ing to ask oth­ers to do would not be a smart strat­egy,” Mr. Spicer said.

“We’ve got a lot of tools left and a lot of con­ver­sa­tions that are on­go­ing. We’re go­ing to con­tinue to work with China.”

North Korea showed no signs of eas­ing its stark de­fi­ance of the new ad­min­is­tra­tion in Wash­ing­ton.

Kim In Ry­ong, Py­ongyang’s deputy U.N. am­bas­sador ac­cused the United States in a news con­fer­ence Mon­day of turn­ing the Korean Penin­sula into “the world’s big­gest hot spot” and cre­at­ing “a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion in which a ther­monu­clear war may break out at any mo­ment.”

“If the U.S. dares opt for a mil­i­tary ac­tion,” North Korea “is ready to re­act to any mode of war de­sired by the U.S.,” the North Korean en­voy said, adding that eas­ing the U.S. hos­tile pol­icy to­ward the North “is the pre­con­di­tion to solv­ing all the prob­lems in the Korean Penin­sula.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence said that Amer­ica’s “era of strate­gic pa­tience” with North Korea is over. Pres­i­dent Trump spoke with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping re­cently, and urged Mr. Xi to push in Py­ongyang to scale back its nu­clear am­bi­tions.

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