Standing in Tokyo in range of North Korea’s missiles, President Donald J. Trump declared that North Korea is a “threat to the civilized world.”
“Some people say my rhetoric is very strong, but look what has happened with very weak rhetoric in the last 25 years,” pointed out Trump as he stood with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a news conference on Monday.
Tokyo is Trump’s first stop of his extended trip to Asia. During the news conference, Trump suggested that the United States will arm Japan and did not deny reports that he has been frustrated with the Asian country for not shooting down a ballistic missile North Korea recently fired over its territory.
“He will shoot ’em out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of additional military equipment from the United States,” Trump said of Abe. “He will easily shoot them out of the sky.”
According to its constitution, Japanese military can only shoot down a missile when it is aimed at the country or in the event of debris falling onto its territory.
Abe agreed with Trump’s assessment that “all options are on the table” when dealing with Kim Jong Un and proceeded to announce new sanctions against several dozen North Korean individuals.
According to a report in The Associated Press, “Japan is already seeking money to purchase upgraded SM3 interceptors with greater accuracy and range, as well as other advanced missile defense systems such as land-based Aegis Ashore interceptors or the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, a U.S. mobile anti-missile system installed in South Korea. An installment of THAAD in Japan would further escalate reaction from Beijing, which has already balked at the installment of THAAD in South Korea, saying its advanced radar system can monitor deep into China.”
President Trump and the Japanese leader also met with the anguished families of Japanese citizens who have been kidnapped by Pyongyang’s agents.
Standing with nearly two dozen family members who held photos of their missing loved ones, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump acknowledged their pain. Vowing to pressure North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to return the missing to their families, Trump said, “It’s a very, very sad number of stories that we’ve heard.”
North Korea has acknowledged having detained 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s but claims they all died or have been released. Japan’s government insists that many more were taken, and some may still be alive.
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