WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump agreed on Thursday with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, that it is necessary to “compel” North Korea to “return to the path of denuclearization at any cost” after Pyongyang earlier this week conducted another intercontinental ballistic missile test.
Trump spoke by telephone with Moon for the second time this week to discuss the “next steps to respond to this most recent provocation by North Korea, including how to bring maximum pressure to bear on the regime,” the White House said.
“The presidents reiterated their strong commitment to enhancing the (bilateral) alliance’s deterrence and defense capabilities,” the statement continued.
“Both leaders reaffirmed their strong commitment to compelling North Korea to return to the path of denuclearization at any cost,” the White House said regarding the president’s talk with Moon.
On Tuesday, the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un launched another ICBM, this one allegedly capable of hitting the US mainland and carrying a “super-large” and heavy nuclear warhead, according to Pyongyang.
In response, the Trump administration has been pushing the international community to increase sanctions on North Korea.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Wednesday called upon the international community to break diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, saying that Trump had asked his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to halt petroleum exports to North Korea.
However, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that what Washington is demanding is that Beijing “restrain more oil, not take it off completely.”
“The most effective tool the last time North Korea came to the table was cutting the oil off,” Tillerson told reporters, referring to talks held with Pyongyang in 2008.