Korean, US security chiefs reaffirm no THAAD payment by Seoul

"I would not be happy", the president said on CBS' "Face the Nation" in an interview that aired Sunday.

Tillerson, in a U.N. Security Council meeting on North Korea on Friday, repeated the Trump administration's position that all options were on the table if Pyongyang persisted with its nuclear and missile development.

Moon Seong Mook, a South Korean analyst and former military official, says that the North could be gaining valuable knowledge from the failed launches as it continues to improve its technologies for missiles. "He will have to do what he has to do". He is a very good man and I got to know him very well.

When pressed on if being "not happy" would mean military action, Trump demurred.

National Security Office chief Kim Kwan-jin and his American counterpart H.R. McMaster reconfirmed the stance during a phone conversation held earlier in the day at the request of the U.S. side, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.

"People are saying, 'Is he sane?' I have no idea", the President said, before noting Kim Jong Un's rise to power at a young age. He says North Korea poses "a grave threat" not just to the United States and its Asian allies, but also to China.

"Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan", he said. "Obviously he's a pretty smart cookie", said Trump, referring to North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.

In keeping with President Trump's warning that a major conflict with North Korea is very possible, the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also cautioned that if the United States and the rest of the world fails to stop North Korea's missile tests, there could be "catastrophic consequences". It may mean ratcheting up those sanctions even further.

South Korea can't renegotiate Thaad payment with the US because it was decided under the parameters of the nations' security agreement, Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said at a briefing in Seoul on Monday.

"McMaster has said that recent statements by Trump were made in a general context, in line with the USA public expectations on defense cost burden-sharing with allies", Seoul said in a statement. "I mean, we'll see".

The president also was asked about the failure of several North Korean missile tests recently and why those launches keep blowing up.

He was reacting after a North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed, the third flop in a month. They have also warned the U.S. and its regional allies like South Korea, Australia and Japan of a strong military response in case of any invasion. He's launched dozens of projectiles and conducted three nuclear tests since coming to power after his father's death in 2011, and he claimed in January to be nearly ready to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile that would threaten the U.S.

In another press interview with the Washington Times published on Saturday (Korean time), he again said, "Why should we pay for it?".

  • Larry Hoffman