WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump opened his two-day European visit Thursday with a sharp warning to North Korea over its first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier this week.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw, Trump said he is considering some “very severe things” to respond to the missile test, adding that North Korea is acting in a “very, very dangerous manner.”
But the president suggested U.S. action won’t be immediate. He said he won’t draw a “red line” and plans to look at what happens in the “coming weeks and months.”
He also called on nations to confront North Korea’s “Very, very bad behavior.”
Trump’s comments came shortly before he delivered a keynote address before thousands of Poles in Krasinski Square, site of a monument commemorating the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis.
“It’s a critical time for the world because you see what’s going on,” the president said. “Not only must we secure our nations from the threat of terrorism but we must also confront the threat from North Korea. That’s what it is. It’s a threat. We will confront it strongly. We call on all nations to confront this global threat and publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences for their very bad behavior.”
The president’s attempt to find consensus on how to handle the delicate situation has been complicated by resistance from both the China and Russia.
In a joint statement Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping condemned what they see as US militarization in the region.
Both share a land border with North Korea and have diplomatic relations with Pyongyang and China is the nation’s largest trading partner.
On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley laced into the leaders of China and Russia during a meeting of the UN Security Council, accusing the nations of “holding the hands” of Kim Jong Un.
“The international community can cut off the major sources of hard currency to the North Korean regime,” Haley said. “We can restrict the flow of oil to their military and their weapons programs. We can increase air and maritime restrictions. We can hold senior regime officials accountable.”
Later Haley said “much of the burden of enforcing UN sanctions rests with China.”
Liu Jieyi, China’s UN ambassador told Haley and other members of the Security Council that the launch was indeed a “flagrant violation” of UN resolutions but urged caution nonetheless.
“We call on all the parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid provocative actions and belligerent rhetoric, demonstrate the will for unconditional dialogue and work actively together to defuse the tension,” Jieyi said on Wednesday.
Vladmimir Safronkov, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, called the introduction of more stringent sanctions “not acceptable” and military action in the region “inadmissible.”
After the July 3 missile launch, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he would never put his weapons programs up for negotiations unless the U.S. clawed back any hostile foreign policy it has levied against the state.
As Jong Un continues to test intercontinental ballistic missiles, the U.S. has strengthened its bond with the South Korean military. The U.S. and South Korea have continued to conduct joint exercises in the region while holding up a singular front and mutually calling for tougher sanctions.
On Thursday, ignoring Chinese and Russian calls for a suspension of such exercises, the South Korean navy fired guided missiles into the ocean as a part of its previously scheduled agenda. Joint “deep strike” precision missile firing drills also went off on Wednesday.
According to South Korea’s navy, during Thursday’s drills, 15 warships, including a 3,200-ton class destroyer, helicopters and fighter jets were dispatched.
In a statement on Thursday, the nation’s Rear Admiral Kwon Jeong Seob said: “Our military is maintaining the highest level of readiness to make a swift response even if a war breaks out today.”