President Donald Trump on Monday warned that no one is safe from North Korea, but he declined to specify what circumstances would provoke an American military response.
The president, appearing on the debut of the new Fox News Channel show, “The Fox News Specialists,” responded to a question from anchor Eric Bolling about how safe U.S. troops stationed in South Korea are in the face of provocations from North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
“Nobody’s safe. I mean, who’s safe? The guy’s got nuclear weapons. I’d like to say they’re very safe. These are great, brave solders.”
“Nobody’s safe. I mean, who’s safe?” he said. “The guy’s got nuclear weapons. I’d like to say they’re very safe. These are great, brave solders. These are great troops, and they know the situation. We have 28,000 troops on the line, and they’re right there. And so nobody’s safe. We’re probably not safe over here. If he gets the long-range missiles, we’re not safe, either.”
The sobering assessment underscores the difficulties of what has become the most dangerous foreign policy challenge of Trump’s young presidency. He has tried pressuring China to use its considerable leverage on its ally. In a separate interview with Bloomberg News on Monday, he raised eyebrows by saying that he would be “honored” to meet with Kim “under the right circumstances.”
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On “Specialists,” Trump appeared reluctant to talk about when it would be appropriate for the United States to use military force against North Korea, which has an active nuclear-arms program and has conducted a number of tests of long-range missiles capable of delivering those warheads.
“Well, I’m not like President Obama where you draw a red line, as you said, a red line in the sand, and then lots of bad things happen and he never goes over the red line,” he said. “In fact, I actually covered his red line for him in Syria.”
Trump added, “I mean, it’s ridiculous. I don’t want to talk about it. I can say this, he’s very threatening; he’s a big threat to the world.”
Trump long has taken a dim view of telegraphing military action. The same goes for the Middle East and the fight against the Islamic State terrorist organization, he told Bolling.
“I’ve been pretty well-known for saying, like, nothing when it comes to the military. When they announced they were going into Mosul in four months, and then they said in three months, in two months, we’re going in next week,” he said. “I said, ‘Why do they keep saying that?’ That was supposed to be a pretty quick battle for Mosul. Guess what? It’s still going on because the enemy knew they were coming.”