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Trump Slams 'Brutal' North Korea, Says 'Era of Strategic Patience' Is Over

President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in presented a united front against the "reckless and brutal regime in North Korea."
Image: President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in deliver joint statements in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 30, 2017 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in deliver joint statements in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 30, 2017 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong / Getty Images

President Donald Trump called the regime in North Korea "brutal and reckless" as he stood with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the Rose Garden Friday.

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

The latest sign of brutality from the regime, Trump said, resulted in the death of American Otto Warmbier, who was released back to the United States earlier this month after being held in North Korea for over a year.

As the North Korean government continues its nuclear efforts, Trump said "the era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed."

"Frankly, that patience is over," he said.

President Moon echoed the need to resolve the North Korea issue, promising a "stern response."

The leaders took no questions during their joint appearance.

The two leaders also said they made progress during discussions of options to counter North Korean provocations, Trump said.

"We have many options with respect to North Korea," Trump said, but did not elaborate on what those options might be.

The official working visit comes as the Trump administration appears to be ratcheting up its efforts to pressure more Chinese action on North Korea, a key topic of the discussion between Trump and his South Korean counterpart.

TIMELINE: How Events in North Korea Have Unfolded Under Trump

"We are also in the process of discussing our many options" with North Korea, Trump said in a brief press availability with Moon on Friday.

But recent actions by the White House show that new steps might be underway to pressure China to do more.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced new sanctions against the Chinese Bank of Dandong Thursday, the same day a National Security Council spokesman confirmed that White House notified Congress they had approved a more than $1 billion arms deal with Taiwan.

Both moves drew ire from Beijing — even as Mnuchin defended the sanctions as not directed at China in a briefing Thursday.

A senior administration official, speaking with reporters prior to Moon’s arrival, said de-nuclearization of North Korea was a shared goal for South Korea and the United States — with the possibility of engagement on the table “when the conditions are right.”

On the issue of trade, the same official expects a “friendly, frank discussion about the trade imbalance” between the countries — something that has “caught the president’s eye” and been less than subtly pointed out in the past.

Earlier in the day, Trump said the two leaders made headway during their discussions on trade. Trump called South Korea a "major trading partner" and stressed that he wants to negotiate a deal that would benefit American workers.

"We are renegotiating a trade deal right now as we speak with South Korea and hopefully it will be an equitable deal, a fair deal to both parties," Trump told reporters as he sat next to Moon in the Oval Office on Friday. "It’s been a rough deal for the United States, but I think that it will be much different and it will be good for both parties."