Donald Trump refuses to rule out military action against North Korea

Donald Trump has said North Korea is "a threat to the civilised world" and vowed that the US "will not stand" for Pyongyang menacing America or its allies.

The US president, speaking in Tokyo, one of the Asian capitals threatened by North Korea's missiles, did not rule out military action.

He exhorted dictator Kim Jong Un to cease weapons testing such as the missiles he has fired over Japanese territory in recent weeks.

The president also denounced efforts by the Obama administration to manage Pyongyang, declaring again that "the era of strategic patience was over".

He said: "Some people say my rhetoric is very strong but look what has happened with very weak rhetoric in the last 25 years."

Mr Trump, who was with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan at a news conference, said North Korea endangered "international peace and stability".

Mr Abe has taken a more hawkish view on North Korea than some of his predecessors.

He agreed with Mr Trump's assessment that "all options on the table" when dealing with Kim and announced new sanctions against several dozen North Korea individuals.

The two men also met anguished families of Japanese citizens snatched by Pyongyang's agents, as Mr Trump called their abductions "a tremendous disgrace".

Mr Trump pledged to work to return the missing to their families, intensifying the pressure on North Korea by elevating the heart-wrenching tales of loss to the international stage.

"We've just heard the very sad stories about family members - daughters, wives, brothers uncles, fathers - it's a very, very sad number of stories that we've heard," the president said.

He and first lady Melania Trump stood with nearly two dozen relatives, some of whom held photos of the missing.

North Korea has acknowledged apprehending 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s, but claims they all died or have been released.

But the Japanese government insists many more were taken - and that some may still be alive.

Mr Trump has delivered harsh denunciations of Kim, belittling him as "Little Rocket Man" but suggested that it would be "a tremendous signal" if North Korea returned the captives.

More on this topic

North Korea demands Pompeo removal from talks as it announces weapon test-firing

Vietnam woman pleads guilty to lesser charge in Kim killing

North Korea rocket launch ‘would be catastrophe for diplomacy’

Woman accused of murdering North Korean leader’s half brother freed

More in this Section

At least 30 killed in Sri Lanka explosions

Vatican darkened for poignant Easter ritual

Tory grassroots revolt over May’s handling of Brexit

In pictures: Extinction Rebellion climate protests continue


Runner of the Week: Cork man taking on marathon challenge for mental health awareness

We sell books: Sisters are doing it for themselves

Dark side of teen life: Bo Burnham's Eight Grade highlights anxieties of the self generation

Wealth inequality behind the extinction of mammals

More From The Irish Examiner