President Trump said Monday the U.S. and Japan “will not stand” for North Korea’s threatening missile tests, and predicted that Japan will shoot down Pyongyang’s missiles with help of American military hardware.
“The regime continues development of its unlawful weapons programs, including its illegal nuclear tests and outrageous launches of ballistic missiles directly overly Japanese territory,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “We will not stand for that.”
When a reporter asked Mr. Abe about Mr. Trump’s earlier comment that the “samurai” nation should have shot down North Korean missiles, the president jumped in with a prediction.
“He will shoot them out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of additional military equipment from the United States,” the president said of Mr. Abe. “The prime minister is going to be purchasing massive amounts of military equipment, as he should. And we make the best military equipment by far.”
The president’s comments came on the second day of his 12-day trip to Asia, which will include stops in South Korea and China as he seeks more international cooperation to halt North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. He promised Mr. Abe that the U.S. will confront “the North Korean menace.”
“The era of strategic patience is over,” Mr. Trump said. “Some people say my rhetoric is very strong, but look what has happened with very weak rhetoric in the last 25 years.”
Mr. Abe said Japan supports Mr. Trump’s more forceful approach to North Korea and added, “all options are on the table.”
Despite the leaders’ solidarity on security issues, Mr. Trump prodded the prime minister sharply for a trade relationship that is more favorable to the U.S. He said his administration cannot stand for the “massive trade deficits” between the two nations.
“For the last many decades, Japan has been winning, you do know that,” Mr. Trump told a gathering of business leaders in Tokyo. “We want fair and open trade, but right now our trade with Japan is not fair and it’s not open. But I know it will be, soon. We want free and reciprocal trade, but right now our trade with Japan is not free and it’s not reciprocal, and I know it will be.”
The president earlier this year canceled the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation free trade agreement negotiated by President Barack Obama and Mr. Abe.
“We will have more trade than anybody ever thought under TPP. That I can tell you,” Mr. Trump said. “Virtually no cars go from the United States into Japan. We’ll negotiate it out.”
He said the TTP was not the right deal for the U.S.
“Probably some of you in this room disagree,” he told the business leaders. “Ultimately, I’ll be proven to be right.”
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