US Assumes Tougher Stand on North Korea Nuclear Threat
The Trump administration has articulated a tougher approach toward North Korea in recent days, saying it has lost patience with Pyongyang's intransigence in the face of long-standing demands to curb its nuclear ambitions.
"Those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know, we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response," Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier in Japan. That followed his comments Tuesday in Tokyo declaring the U.S. will not rest until it achieves the goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. And at a stop in Seoul earlier, he said, "The era of strategic patience is over" — referring to the more muted Obama administration strategy.
Pence's visit to northeast Asia came as the president's national security adviser, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, told ABC News "all our options are on the table" in North Korea. However, McMaster expressed hope there would be no need for a military strike against the North.
In a pair of recent Twitter posts, President Donald Trump referred to the Pyongyang regime as a "menace" that is "looking for trouble." Taking a broad swipe at Obama's approach, he wrote, "The first 90 days of my presidency has exposed the total failure of the last eight years of foreign policy."
Turkey Defends Against Referendum Fraud Allegations
Turkey's prime minister hit back Tuesday at European monitors who said more than 2 million votes could have been manipulated in Sunday's closely contested referendum on expanding presidential powers.
Binali Yildirim, responding to criticism from the Council of Europe's observer mission, said debate over the outcome of the referendum was "over," and that "the people's will had been reflected at the ballot box."
He spoke in response to calls from the council to investigate alleged vote irregularities that several official observers said allowed as many as 2.5 million uncertified ballots to be counted.
Separately, European monitors alleged that those who campaigned against Erdogan's push for expanded powers faced numerous obstacles, including a lack of freedom of expression, intimidation and access to the media. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe also alleged misuse of administrative resources by Erdogan ahead of Sunday's vote.