While speaking to reporters on Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump said that despite having respect for the decision of China and Russia to support sanctions on North Korea, he doesn’t believe sanctions will be effective.
“I have great respect of China and Russia, what they did on sanctions,” Trump explained. He went on to say that while he believed sanctions would be somewhat effective, “it will not be as effective as a lot of people think it can be, unfortunately,” said the president during a press briefing.
Tensions with North Korea have increased recently as the isolationist, communist country headed by Kim Jong-Un completed two nuclear tests last year, and two intercontinental ballistic missile tests this past July in defiance of world powers.
These statements came shortly after the president hiked up his rhetoric toward North Korea and its leader on Thursday, warning Pyongyang against attacking Guam or U.S. allies after it disclosed plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory.
“If North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about attack, of anybody that we love or represent or our allies or us, they can be very very nervous, I’ll tell you what, and they should be very nervous,” Trump said.
If Pyongyang carries out its threatened show of force and launches missiles toward Guam, it would represent an unprecedented milestone in the already fraught relations between the United States and North Korea.
Guam, a tropical island more than 3,000 km (2,000 miles) to the southeast of North Korea, is home to about 163,000 people and a strategically located U.S. air base and Navy installation that includes a submarine squadron, a Coast Guard group and roughly 6,000 U.S. military service members.
The United States and North Korea technically still remain at war with one another as the Korean conflict of 1950-53 ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, Reuters reports.
Trump also discussed China during the briefing, saying that he believes China will do “a lot more.” He went on to reiterate rhetoric from his presidential campaign by describing how the United States loses billions of dollars a year “on trade with China.”
He went on to say, however, that should China help the United States in its relations with North Korea, he would “feel a lot differently toward trade.”
— With files from Reuters