A U.S. senator called for President Donald Trump to increase pressure on North Korea through sanctions, military exercises with allies and other measures after the communist nation carried out its first ballistic missile launch under the Trump administration.
"This latest missile test is another example of why the U.S. policy toward North Korea should never be 'strategic patience,' as it was during the Obama administration," Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Asia and Pacific affairs, said in a statement.
"I urge the Trump administration to immediately pursue a series of tough measures, to include additional sanctions designations and show-of-force military exercises with our allies in the region, to send a message to Kim Jong-un that we remain committed to deterring the North Korean threat," he said.
Gardner also called for speeding up the planned placement of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in South Korea to "protect our allies and the tens of thousands of American troops in the region."
Gardner also sent a letter to Trump on Friday, a day before the North's missile launch, calling for sharper sanctions on Pyongyang; greater pressure on China, including secondary sanctions; and stronger trilateral security cooperation among the U.S., South Korea and Japan.
In particular, Gardner said the U.S. should not allow China to take retaliatory measures against South Korea for its decision to host THAAD that Beijing has strongly denounced as a threat to his security interests.
"Mr. President, we are at a critical juncture with regard to North Korea and its provocative behavior: We require a swift, resolute and well-coordinated policy to deter Pyongyang now and with time, to peacefully denuclearize the Korean Peninsula," Gardner said in the letter to Trump. (Yonhap)