Donald Trump urged Japan Monday to counter the North Korean threat through remilitarization — with “a lot” of weapons bought directly from the United States.
Declaring the era of strategic patience toward Pyongyang “over,” Trump said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would shoot North Korean missiles “out of the sky when he completes the purchase of a lot of military equipment from the United States.”
“Some people said that my rhetoric is very strong,” Trump added at a joint press conference in Tokyo with Abe. “But look at what’s happened with very weak rhetoric over the last 25 years. Look where we are now.”
Trump has repeatedly pushed American allies to take more responsibility for their own defense rather than relying on the Washington.
Abe, a conservative who has pledged to revise Japan’s pacifist postwar constitution, said Monday he “100 percent agreed” with Trump’s tough stance toward the rogue regime.
“For more than 20 some years, the international community attempted dialogue with North Korea,” Abe said. “Now is the time not for dialogue but for applying a maximum level of pressure on North Korea.”
He called for tougher sanctions against Pyongyang, and ruled out direct dialogue.
Trump and Abe’s comments came a day after top U.S. military commanders warned the only way to destroy Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program would be a devastating ground invasion.
The assessment from the Joint Chiefs of Staff was provided in a letter from Rear Adm. Michael Dumont to Congressman Ted Lieu, who made the response public.
Dumont said that giving rough estimates of the potential casualties in such a scenario was extremely difficult, and that there was a risk of Pyongyang launching a nuclear counterstrike on the United States.
Lieu said the assessment was “deeply disturbing” and called on Trump “to stop making provocative statements that hinder diplomatic options.”
“Their assessment underscores what we’ve known all along: There are no good military options for North Korea,” Lieu said in a statement.