U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday he would be "disappointed" if North Korean leader Kim Jong-un resumed his country's nuclear program.
"I would be disappointed if something was in the works, and if it is, we will take care of it," Trump told reporters at the White House. "We're watching it very closely."
Trump has dispatched his special envoy Stephen Biegun to the region this week to meet his counterparts in South Korea and Japan to continue their coordination on the North.
His warning came the week after Washington’s envoy to the UN urged Pyongyang to take steps towards ditching its nuclear weapons program while suggesting that the hermit nation could be “headed in a different direction.”
Ambassador Kelly Craft presided over UN Security Council talks in New York last Wednesday following a spate of missile launches that have cast doubt on a revived negotiation process launched by Trump and Kim in 2017.
“We are prepared to be flexible, but we cannot solve this problem alone. The DPRK must do its part, and it must avoid provocations,” Craft told reporters outside the council, using the official acronym for North Korea.
“While the U.S. has sought to engage in robust diplomacy with the DPRK, we have seen troubling signs that they are headed in a different direction.”
Since becoming president in 2017, Trump has met Kim three times in a bid to persuade him to give up his nuclear and missile programs. But talks have stalled, and Kim has given Trump until the end of the year to make concessions.
North Korea has carried out 13 ballistic missile launches since May. Analysts and diplomats worry that Pyongyang could next year resume the nuclear and long-range missile testing that was suspended in 2017.
Pyongyang’s “continued ballistic missile testing is deeply counterproductive to the shared objectives” that were agreed at the Trump-Kim summits, Craft told the council, speaking in her national capacity.
“These actions also risk closing the door on this opportunity to find a better way for the future.”
By Michael Hernandez in Washington