On Thursday morning, President Trump delivered a joint statement with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. In addition to boasting about plans for a “great” trade deal with South Korea, Trump also used his statement as an opportunity to criticize North Korea and exploit the recent death of Otto Warmbier.
Warmbier’s death — and what should be done about it — has been heavily discussed in the media since it was announced last week, so it’s not particularly surprising that Trump chose to bring it up during his remarks.
Warmbier, 22, was detained in North Korea for nearly a year and a half after he stole a propaganda banner while on a tourist visit. He was medically evacuated from the country earlier this month after falling into a coma and was treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Although his parents have not specified the cause of their son’s death, they have blamed it on the “awful torturous mistreatment [he] received at the hands of the North Koreans.”
Trump mentioned Warmbier during his statement when he denounced North Korea’s “reckless and brutal regime.”
He first said that the country has “no respect for human life.”
‘The North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its people or its neighbors, and has no respect for human life — and that’s been proven over and over again.’
He then went on to say that Warmbier’s death is the latest sign of North Korea’s brutality.
The president followed up these comments with a promise that the U.S. and South Korea will be united in their efforts against North Korea, telling the press that “the era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed.”
‘Frankly, that patience is over.’
Trump didn’t specify what his plan is for dealing with North Korea; he only said that there are “many options” currently being explored.
After Trump ended his statement, President Moon went on to echo Trump’s comments about needing to resolve problems with North Korea and promised to meet the country’s threats with a “stern response.”
Moon also offered condolences about Warmbier’s death and said that he sympathizes with those who are “saddened” that the U.S. couldn’t protect Warmbier from North Korea’s brutality.
Watch the full statements from both Trump and Moon in the video below, available via YouTube:
Featured image via Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.