President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that the United States has “no choice” but to build up its military and he highlighted the importance of China as an ally amid North Korea’s ballistic missile testing.
“Our military is building and is rapidly becoming stronger than ever before. Frankly, we have no choice!” he posted.
Trump’s mounting foreign policy challenges include what he called “the North Korean problem,” a reference to the country’s nuclear ambitions despite a failed missile launch.
The issue led Trump to tweet Sunday that China is working with the United States against North Korea. Additionally, Vice President Mike Pence is visiting South Korea to shore up support on the peninsula, and Japan condemned North Korea’s missile testing.
North Korea was a top topic on the Sunday talk shows as well. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told ABC News’ “This Week” the administration needs strong alliances to pressure Pyongyang and avoid armed conflict.
“It’s really the consensus with the president, our key allies in the regions — Japan and South Korea . . . but also the Chinese leadership — that this problem is coming to a head,” McMaster said. “It’s time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully.”
The bottom line, McMaster said, is to stop the North’s weapons development and make the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free: “It’s clear that the president is determined not to allow this kind of capability to threaten the United States. And our president will take action that is in the best interest of the American people.”
On NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said “China is the key” to curbing the North Korean threat. “China can shut them down,” he said of Chinese influence on the North Korean economy. “Whether they’re currency manipulators or not, we should expect them to act to prevent what could be a cataclysmic event.”
At the start of his trip, Pence will meet with leaders in South Korea and Japan. It will include stops in Indonesia and Australia.
Early Monday, he visited a military base near the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea. Pence arrived at Camp Bonifas for a briefing with military leaders and to meet with American troops stationed there. The joint U.S.-South Korean military camp is just outside the 2.5-mile-wide DMZ.
Pence was aboard Air Force Two flying over the Bering Sea when the North Korean missile exploded during launch on Sunday, U.S. and South Korean officials said. The high-profile failure came as the North tried to showcase its nuclear and missile capabilities around the birthday of the North’s late founder and as a U.S. aircraft carrier neared the Korean peninsula.
Trump noted to The Wall Street Journal last week that China is no longer manipulating its currency despite calling it out as recently as April 2 for having devalued its currency. He tweeted Sunday: “Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!”
The president and first lady Melania Trump attended Easter services at Bethesda-by-the-Sea church in Palm Beach, Florida, where they were married in 2005, and Trump tweeted Easter well wishes. The Trumps spent the weekend at their Mar-a-Lago estate.
Trump also criticized Tax March participants who demanded he release his tax returns and took to the streets Saturday on Long Island, in New York City and Washington, and elsewhere around the country. He suggested without evidence that they were paid. The event in Berkeley, California, had turned violent as anti- and pro-Trump demonstrators clashed.
“I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican — easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again?” he tweeted. “Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!”
With The Associated Press