WASHINGTON-- U.S. President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that he will not accept a North Korea with nuclear weapons and will continue to put "maximum pressure" on the regime.
Trump returned from a 12-day Asia trip Tuesday and made the remark in a televised statement that detailed the purported successes of his tour.
"I called on every nation, including China and Russia, to unite in isolating the North Korean regime, cutting off all ties of trade and commerce until it stops its dangerous provocation," he said of his speech before South Korea's National Assembly last week. "We have to denuclearize North Korea."
Trump also said he used the speech to speak the "truth" about the North Korean regime's "evil crimes."
"And I made clear that we will not allow this twisted dictatorship to hold the world hostage to nuclear blackmail," he said, speaking from the White House.
While in Seoul on Nov. 7 and 8, Trump also visited Camp Humphreys, a major U.S. military base south of Seoul, before holding summit talks with President Moon Jae-in.
On the base, he said, "I discussed with the U.S. and South Korean military leaders both military options and readiness to respond to North Korean provocation or offensive actions."
Trump did not elaborate on the discussions, but appeared to give credit to Seoul for "almost entirely" funding the construction of the base.
He also made a point of highlighting his discussions with Moon about "America's commitment" to reducing the U.S. deficit in goods trade with South Korea.
"At my discretion and direction, we are currently renegotiating the disastrous U.S.-Korea trade agreement signed under the previous administration," he said. "It has been a disaster for the United States."
He boasted that 42 South Korean companies announced plans last week to invest in U.S. projects worth more than US$17 billion, while 24 firms announced plans to buy $58 billion in American goods and services.
"The United States welcomed the decision of President Moon to remove the payload restrictions on missiles to combat the North Korean threat," Trump added. "And together, we reaffirmed our commitment to a campaign of maximum pressure."
From Seoul, Trump traveled to Beijing for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he has praised of late for helping put pressure on Pyongyang.
"President Xi recognizes that a nuclear North Korea is a grave threat to China," Trump said, "and we agreed that we would not accept a so-called 'freeze for freeze' agreement, like those that have consistently failed in the past."
It was a reference to Beijing's proposal that North Korea halt its missile and nuclear programs in exchange for a suspension of South Korea-U.S. military drills.
"President Xi pledged to faithfully implement United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea, and to use his great economic influence over the regime to achieve our common goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula," Trump said. "We made that time is running out, and we made it clear. And all options remain on the table."
Trump's Asia trip came amid heightened tensions over North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear missile capable of reaching the continental U.S. The trip, which also included stops in Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, had been billed as a push to step up international pressure on North Korea and reduce U.S. trade deficits with the region.
Source: Yonhap News Agency