South Korean President Moon Jae-in and President Donald Trump are meeting in New York City Thursday, and are said to be focused on responding to North Korea’s continued development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, despite outcries against the behavior from around the world.
During a Thursday presser, the two leaders updated reporters. President Trump emphasized his cooperation with Moon and other allies in Asia, and President Moon thanked Trump for taking a hard stance against North Korea’s nuclear program, saying he believes it will be effective in containing the rogue nation.
“We are on a very friendly basis, working on trade and working on trade agreements and we’ll see how that all comes out,” President Trump said. “But much more [important] is the other aspect of our relationship that we’re working with, and that has to do with North Korea.
“We are meeting on a constant basis,” Trump said. “We’ll be meeting in a little while also with Prime Minister Abe of Japan and that will be a tri-meeting, so we will see. But, I think we’re making a lot of progress in a lot of different ways. Stay tuned.”
The South Korean president confirmed that he has spoken with President Trump regularly about the North Korean situation.
Through an interpreter, Moon said, “Mr. President, I have met with you several times and have also had many telephone conversations with you, and because of this, I am becoming more and more familiar with you.”
Moon went on to address North Korea but did not address trade deals.
“North Korea has continued to make provocations and this is extremely deplorable, and this has angered both me and our people,” he continued, “But the United States has responded firmly and in a very good way. And because of this, I also believe that we have very close coordination between Korea and the United States, and because of this, I am very satisfied.”
“Mr. President, in the U.N. general assembly you made a very strong speech and I believe that the strength of your speech will also help contain North Korea,” Moon said. “Thank you very much.”
Trump was amused by the interpreter using the word “deplorable” in the translation, a word twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used during an election speech to describe Trump’s supporters, calling them a “basket of deplorables.”
“Well, thank you very much,” President Trump responded. “I’m very happy that you used the word ‘deplorable.’ I was very interested in that word.”
The assembled reporters reacted with laughter, as the president said, “I didn’t tell them, I promise, I did not tell them to use that word.”
“That’s been a very lucky word for me and many millions of people,” President Trump said.
During a working luncheon with President Moon and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that followed, President Trump announced that the U.S. will impose additional penalties on North Korea through an executive order.
“The order enhances the Treasury Department’s authorities to target any individual or entity that conducts significant trade in goods, services and technology with North Korea,” the president said.
He clarified that the order allows the Treasury Department to target new industries–including textile, fishing, information technology, and manufacturing–with strong sanctions to prevent sanction evasion, and with measures designed to disrupt critical North Korean shipping and trade networks.
China’s central bank has also told its banks to immediately stop doing business with North Korea, the president reported.
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