President Donald Trump made headlines while on his much anticipated trip to Asia Monday as he declared the United States’ policy of “strategic patience” on North Korea “over.”
Trump made the comments during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.
“The era of strategic patience is over,” Trump said in regards to his position on North Korea. “Some people said that my rhetoric is very strong, but look what’s happened with very weak rhetoric over the last 25 years. Look where we are now.”
Trump has mentioned U.S. North Korea policy in the time frame of the last 25 years before, and said that unlike his predecessors he “won’t fail.”
“Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won’t fail,” Trump tweeted in early October. “Rocket Man” is his nickname for Kim Jong-un.
Japanese Prime Minister Abe agreed with Trump at the conference, saying “We are together 100 percent,” Politico reported. “Now is the time not for dialogue, but for applying a maximum level of pressure on North Korea.”
Trump also encouraged Japan to purchase military equipment from the U.S. and said Abe will “shoot them out of the sky,” referring to missiles like the one launched by North Korea over Japan in August.
“[Abe] will shoot them out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of additional military equipment from the United States,” the president said of.
Japanese leaders won’t be the only ones Trump will court during his trip, according to a New York Times report.
Trump told reporters that he plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and said “We want Putin’s help on North Korea.”
Japan orchestrated a lavish formal welcome for the Trumps, complete with military honor guard and an audience with Japan’s Emperor Akihito and his wife, Empress Michiko, at the Imperial Palace.
As part of the pageantry, Trump and Abe took part in a traditional feeding of koi in a pond Monday. At first, both leaders spooned out small amounts of feed into the pond below. Abe then lightly tossed the remainder of his box into the pond below, while Trump more theatrically dumped the rest of his box down to the fish.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.