9 November, 2017, 12:00 am
SEOUL – President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned North Korea he was prepared to use the full range of US military power to stop any attack, but in a more conciliatory appeal than ever before he urged Pyongyang to “make a deal” to end the nuclear standoff.
Speaking on North Korea’s doorstep during a visit to Seoul, Mr Trump said that while “we hope to God” not to have to resort to the use of full US military might, he was ready to do whatever was necessary to prevent the “North Korean dictator” from threatening millions of lives.
“We cannot allow North Korea to threaten all that we have built,” Trump said after talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has supported diplomatic outreach to Pyongyang.
But at times taking a more measured, less confrontational tone, Mr Trump also urged North Korea to “do the right thing” and added that: “I do see some movement,” though he declined to elaborate.
“It really makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal,” Mr Trump told reporters at a joint news conference with Moon.
Despite Mr Trump’s renewed threats against North Korea, it was a far cry from the more strident approach he has pursued in recent months, including his previous dismissal of any diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang as a waste of time.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made clear that he has little interest in negotiations, at least until he has developed a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US.