President Donald Trump declared the “era of strategic patience” with North Korea over and said the United States will always defend itself and its allies against the rogue regime.
Appearing in the White House rose garden with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea he called North Korea a “menace” with “no respect for human life” and demanded that it “choose a better path and do it quickly”.
Mr Trump railed against the North Korean government as a “reckless and brutal regime” and said “millions of their own people have been starved to death”.
He said: “The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed and frankly that patience is over. “Our goal is peace, stability and prosperity for the region but the United States will defend itself always, and we will always defend our allies.”
Mr Trump said the world had watched what happened to “our wonderful Otto Warmbier,” the American student who died after being held in North Korea.
He added: “The US calls on nations around the world to implement sanctions and demand that the North Korean regime chose a better path and do it quickly for a better future for its long-suffering people.”
He also praised the alliance between the US and South Korea as “a cornerstone of peace and security in a very, very dangerous part of the world”.
Mr Trump accepted an invitation to visit South Korea later this year.
He also vowed to start reducing the US trade deficit by renegotiating a trade deal with South Korea.
The US had a $27.6 billion trade deficit with South Korea last year. Mr Trump said: “We cannot allow that to continue. That’s not a good deal.”