Seoul: US President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in on Tuesday urged Pyongyang to "come to the table" and discuss giving up its nuclear weapons as "it is the right thing, not only for North Korea but for humanity all over the world".
Striking a different note from the previous fiery rhetoric, the US President said he "hoped to God" he did not have to use the US military against Pyongyang. Trump was speaking at a joint press conference with Moon at the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. He arrived here earlier in the day on a state visit, becoming the first US President to do so in 25 years, Yonhap news agency reported. He is on a five-nation tour of Asia, where North Korea's nuclear ambitions have been high on his agenda.
Both the leaders reiterated their call for the North to denuclearise, with Trump saying it "makes sense for North Korea to come to the table", and to "do the right thing, not only for North Korea but for humanity all over the world". Moon said he and the US leader reaffirmed their resolve to peacefully end the North Korean nuclear standoff. They, however, stressed the importance of having what they called "overwhelming" strength over North Korea.
In the coming days, three US aircraft carriers, accompanied by guided-missile destroyers and submarines, will be conducting a mock battle in the waters in the region, said the US Navy. "We are showing great strength and I think they (North Korea) understand we have unparalleled strength. We sent three of the largest aircraft carriers in the world (to the Korean Peninsula) and a nuclear submarine is also positioned," Trump said. "We hope to God we never have to use the military strength the US has on the Korean Peninsula."
The US President said his country and South Korea will continue to work together to defend what they have worked so hard to build. "We cannot allow North Korea to threaten all that we have built. We have built it very much together and we are very proud of it, also together," he said. Trump's trip to the country came about two months after the North staged its sixth and most powerful nuclear test so far on September 3. The US leader urged all countries, including China and Russia, to faithfully implement UN Security Council resolutions aimed at punishing and isolating the communist state. "All nations must implement UN Security Council regulations and cease trade and business entirely with North Korea. It is unacceptable that nations would help arm and finance an increasingly dangerous regime," he said.
Trump and Moon also agreed to completely remove the limit on the payload of Seoul's ballistic missiles and discuss Seoul's introduction of nuclear-powered submarines as well as other advanced weapons, officials said. "The heads of South Korea and the US reached a final agreement on removing the limit on missile payloads," Moon said in the press conference. The leaders also agreed to expand the rotational deployment of US strategic assets to South Korea and its surrounding areas.
The Moon-Trump summit also discussed trade issues as the US leader has long insisted on the need to narrow his country's trade deficit with South Korea. "We have the greatest military equipment in the world and South Korea will be ordering billions of dollars of that equipment, which for them makes a lot of sense and for us means jobs and reducing our trade deficit with South Korea," Trump said.
Later speaking at a state dinner for Trump, Moon reiterated the need for overwhelming power to deter North Korean provocations. "There must never be another war on the Korean Peninsula. In that sense, the US is being a great help to us," he said.
Trump celebrated the Korea-US alliance, calling it a "deep and enduring" relationship. On Wednesday, he is expected to deliver a speech to the South Korean Parliament before heading to China.