South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed his support Thursday for President Donald Trump’s stance on North Korea’s nuclear program, indicating it will be effective to help contain its Northern neighbor.
At a meeting in New York City, Trump and Moon focused on responding to the North Korean regime’s development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles. During the discussion, the South Korean president said, through an interpreter, that he is satisfied with Trump’s firm approach toward the North Korean regime and leader Kim Jong Un.
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"North Korea has continued to make provocations and this is extremely deplorable and this has angered both me and our people," Moon said. "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."
Trump joked about the interpreter using "deplorable," a word Hillary Clinton famously used during the election to describe Trump's supporters.
Moon specifically praised Trump’s speech at the U.N., saying it will "help contain North Korea."
"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’s initial words emphasized his cooperation with Moon and other allies in Asia.
"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."
Trump made a point to say North Korea was the more important issue, but also referred to ongoing negotiations regarding the United State's trade deal with South Korea.
"We are on a very friendly basis working on trade and working on trade agreements and we'll see how that all comes out," Trump said. Later he remarked that the current deal has been "so bad for the United States and so good for South Korea."
"We're going to try to straighten out the trade deal and make it fair for everybody," Trump said shortly before going into a meeting with Moon and Abe. "But our real focus will be on the military and our relationship with South Korea, which is excellent, really excellent."
Moon also emphasized that he has spoken with Trump regularly about the Kim regime situation. He did not address trade deals.
"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 said.
Trump also announced an executive order to bring new sanctions against countries who trade with North Korea.