Following President Donald Trump’s decision on Thursday to cancel the June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the president delivered a strong message to the North Korean regime, warning them against committing any “foolish or reckless acts.”
“I have spoken to South Korea and Japan and they are not only ready should foolish or reckless acts be taken by North Korea, but they are willing to shoulder much of the cost of any financial burden — any of the costs associated by the United States in operations, if such an unfortunate situation is forced upon us,” Trump said at the White House on Thursday.
The president said he had also spoken to Defense Secretary James Mattis about U.S. military readiness.
“I have spoken to General Mattis and the joint chiefs of staff. Our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world … is ready if necessary.”
Trump expressed hope that North Korea will ultimately choose a path of peace, but made clear the United States is ready to respond with force if they do not.
“Hopefully positive things will be taking place with respect to the future of North Korea. But if they don’t, we are more ready than we have ever been before,” Trump said.
“North Korea has the opportunity to end decades of poverty and oppression by following the path of denuclearization and joining the community of nations,” he continued. “I hope that Kim Jong Un will ultimately do what is right, but perhaps most importantly what is right for his people who are suffering greatly and needlessly.
“If and when Kim Jong Un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting,” the president added. “In the meantime, our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign will continue as it has been continuing.”
“No matter what happens, and what we do, we will never ever compromise the safety and security of the United States of America,” Trump concluded.
Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White told reporters that the Trump administration will keep up the economic pressure campaign, and said “We are ready to fight tonight, that has always been the case.”
“The way forward is in the hands of the North Koreans,” she added.
In a letter posted earlier today, Trump said the “tremendous anger and open hostility” in Kim’s most recent public statement meant that going forward with the summit would be “inappropriate, at this time.”
“You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” the president wrote.
“If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history.”
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