US' patience with 'reckless' North Korea is 'over': Trump
US President Donald Trump reaches to shake the hand of South Korea's President Moon Jae-in after making a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House. Photograph: (AFP)
US President Donald trump has expressed his frustration over "reckless and brutal" North Korea's unwillingness to halt its nuclear programme.
He called out North Korea for continuing to test a spate of missiles as he welcomed South Korea's new leader Moon Jae-In.
The US president admitted that years of any semblance of diplomatic engagement with the isolated regime had "failed" and stated that "patience is over".
"Together, we are facing the threat of the reckless and brutal regime in North Korea. The nuclear and ballistic missile programs of that regime require a determined response," said Trump.
"The North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its people, for its neighbors and has no respect for human life... and frankly, that patience is over".
US' toughened its stance after they realised China's inability to deter North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un.
The Trump administration had hoped China had enough leverage with the North to dissuade its nuclear programme.
The North has snubbed its nose at US' sanctions and gone ahead test-firing missiles, especially since Trump came to power.
Washington, South Korea's security guarantor, has more than 28,000 troops in the country to defend it from its communist neighbor, which has been intensifying missile tests -- including five since Moon's inauguration.
Moon said there was no dispute between his government and Trump over the nature of the threat posed by North Korea.
"The gravest challenge confronting our two nations is the nuclear and missile threat posed by North Korea," he said.
"President Trump and I decided to place a top priority on addressing this issue, and coordinate closely on relevant policies.
"To this end, we will employ both sanctions and dialogue in a phased and comprehensive approach... to seek a fundamental resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem."
Moon has used his first foreign trip to lobby the Trump administration and congressional leaders to back his policy of engagement with the North.
Ahead of his arrival, Moon argued that Seoul and Washington must offer concessions to Pyongyang if it complies with demands for a nuclear freeze -- as a gateway to dialogue, and to eventual dismantlement of its nuclear program.
But the Trump administration's hardening stance was illustrated on Thursday when it slapped sanctions on a Chinese bank linked to North Korea -- drawing an angry response from Beijing.
The two leaders also spoke about bilateral trade, with Trump saying the current $17 billion dollar trade deficit with Seoul was unacceptable, highlighting the number of Korean-made cars on American roads.
"I'm encouraged by President Moon's assurances that he will work to create a level playing field so that American workers and businesses and especially automakers can have a fair shake at dealing with South Korea," he said.
(With inputs from AFP)