While visiting South Korea’s capital, Seoul, on Tuesday, President Donald Trump emphasized the strength of the United States’s relationship with North Korea’s neighbor amid efforts to try and pressure the rogue nation into scaling down its nuclear program.
Alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump harped on the threat North Korea poses to the world but refrained from threatening the nation with fiery rhetoric, as he has in the past. He said that while the U.S. has a nuclear submarine ready if needed, it “makes sense for North Korea to come to the table to make a deal.”
In an apparent attempt to set a positive vision for a stabilized Korean peninsula, Trump portrayed a region where “all Koreans could enjoy the blessings of liberty and the prosperity that you have achieved right here in South Korea.”
“Imagine the amazing possibilities for a Korean Peninsula liberated from the threat of nuclear weapons,” Trump said.
When asked about the possibility of direct talks with North Korea, Trump refused to comment. Nor did he say whether the diplomatic strategy of applying pressure to the regime was effective.
“I don’t like talking about whether I see success or not in a case such as this. We like to play our cards a little bit close to the vest,” he told CBS’s Margaret Brennan.
The U.S. strategy toward North Korea has stopped just short of exercising military action, and it has escalated at a rapid pace. Both in cooperation with the United Nations and on its own, the U.S. has continued slapping sanctions on the rogue regime in hopes it will withdraw its nuclear efforts.
Nikki Haley, the U.S.’s ambassador to the United Nations, indicated that while she wouldn’t “beg” the North Koreans to come to the negotiating table, she was open to working with them and avoiding war. But North Korea appeared reluctant to engage in diplomacy when, in October, it conveyed its primary interest in showing the U.S. it could counter potential aggression.