UPDATE : 2018.4.20 FRI 13:26
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Trump vows to 'take care of' N. Korea threat

U.S. President Donald Trump vowed Monday to "take care of" North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile threats as he unveiled the first national security strategy of his administration.

He said his administration has pushed a campaign of "maximum pressure" on North Korea to produce the "toughest ever sanctions" against the regime, but more work remains to be done.

"America and its allies will take all necessary steps to achieve a denuclearization and ensure that this regime cannot threaten the world," Trump said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Building. "This situation should have been taken care of long before I got into office, when it was much easier to handle. But it will be taken care of. We have no choice."

This AP file photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump. (Yonhap)

This AP file photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump. (Yonhap)

In a 55-page document, the administration outlined its priorities in protecting the homeland, promoting American prosperity, preserving peace through strength and advancing American influence.

While the strategy centers on Trump's "America First" vision, with emphasis on the U.S. rivalry with China and Russia, it also highlights the threats posed by North Korea's weapons of mass destruction.

"North Korea seeks the capability to kill millions of Americans with nuclear weapons," the document reads. "North Korea is also pursuing chemical and biological weapons which could also be delivered by missile."

The U.S. is deploying a layered missile defense system with a focus on North Korea and Iran to defend the homeland from missile attacks, it also says. That system includes the ability to defeat missile threats prior to launch.

North Korea is cast as a country that starves its own people but has spent "hundreds of millions of dollars" on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that could threaten the U.S.

"Continued provocations by North Korea will prompt neighboring countries and the United States to further strengthen security bonds and take additional measures to protect themselves," the strategy says. "U.S. allies are critical to responding to mutual threats, such as North Korea, and preserving our mutual interests in the Indo-Pacific region."

It adds, "Our alliance and friendship with South Korea, forged by the trials of history, is stronger than ever."

The U.S. will work with allies and partners to achieve complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and move toward an "area defense capability" with South Korea and Japan in missile defense, it says.

"We remain ready to respond with overwhelming force to North Korean aggression and will improve options to compel denuclearization of the peninsula," says the document.

Tensions have escalated in the wake of North Korea's recent weapons tests, including its most powerful nuclear detonation in September and last month's launch of a new ballistic missile apparently capable of reaching anywhere in the U.S.

Trump has previously threatened to "totally destroy" the regime if necessary, but others within the administration have stressed that it still prefers a diplomatic solution to the crisis. (Yonhap)

Kim Sua  edt@koeapost.com

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