President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that North Korea is another mess he inherited from his predecessor.
North Korea tested a new type of ballistic missile two weeks ago in a bold challenge to the new U.S. administration, which has promised to take a tough stance against North Korea.
In an interview with Reuters, the president indicated that it may be too late to meet or negotiate with Kim Jong-un.
“It’s very late,” Trump explained. “We’re very angry at what he’s done, and frankly this should have been taken care of during the Obama administration.”
Trump previously told reporters that he “inherited a mess” from former President Barack Obama.
The previous administration’s plan to stop North Korea, an approach commonly referred to as “strategic patience,” failed to curb North Korean provocations. The North carried out four nuclear tests during the Obama administration and conducted more missile tests in 2016 than any previous year.
During Thursday’s interview, Trump reiterated his belief that China has the ability to rein in North Korea.
He explained that he has had “very good talks” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but the very big problem of North Korea has yet to be solved.
“It’s a very dangerous situation, and China can end it very quickly in my opinion,” he commented, adding. “I think China has tremendous control over North Korea, whether they say so or not. They could solve the problem very easily if they want to.”
China completely suspended all incoming shipments of North Korean coal until the end of the year Sunday, taking what appears to be a big step for Beijing. China has, in the past, undermined sanctions against North Korea by exploiting the “livelihood purposes” clause in previous United Nations Security Council resolutions, but now, China is shutting off a key source of revenue for the regime. Pyongyang made its displeasure known Thursday by accusing Beijing of “dancing in tune with the U.S.”
Trump’s comments may suggest that he feels China should do more. The president stated that he is looking into missile defense to defend against threats from the increasingly-aggressive North Korea.
“There’s talks of a lot more than that,” he explained, likely referencing the planned deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system on South Korean soil this year, as well as talk of possibly deploying a THAAD battery in Japan, an American ally which feels threatened by the weapons systems North Korea is developing.
After the recent missile test, Trump said North Korea is a “very big problem” that will be dealt with “very strongly.”
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