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(LEAD) Trump's White House vows to develop missile defense system to defend against N. Korea

All News 04:39 January 21, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with foreign policy points in last 7 paras)
By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- The White House of President Donald Trump said Friday the U.S. will develop an advanced missile defense system to defend better against attacks from countries like North Korea and Iran.

"President Trump will end the defense sequester and submit a new budget to Congress outlining a plan to rebuild our military," the White House said on its website, referring to the automatic cuts in defense spending.

"We will provide our military leaders with the means to plan for our future defense needs," it said. "We will also develop a state-of-the-art missile defense system to protect against missile-based attacks from states like Iran and North Korea."

Earlier in the day, Trump was sworn in as the 45th president.

His inauguration came after North Korea has sharply ratcheted up tensions, with leader Kim Jong-un saying in his New Year's Day address that the regime has entered the final stage of preparations to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile.

It was an apparent threat that the North is close to developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the continental U.S., after five underground nuclear blasts and a series of ballistic missile or rocket launches over the past decade.

In response, Trump vowed to stop the North from mastering such ICBM capabilities, saying that the North's development of a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. "won't happen," though he didn't elaborate how he would stop it.

Earlier this week, officials said that the South and the U.S. have picked up signs that the North has readied two ICBMs for apparent test-firing, an indication that the threatened test could come earlier than expected.

(LEAD) Trump's White House vows to develop missile defense system to defend against N. Korea - 1

The White House also said that defeating the militant group Islamic State "will be our highest priority," vowing to pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations and "work with international partners to cut off funding for terrorist groups, to expand intelligence sharing, and to engage in cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable propaganda and recruiting."

The top office also said the next priority will be to rebuild the U.S. military.

But it also said that the U.S. will also "embrace diplomacy" in pursuing "a foreign policy based on American interests."

"The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies, that we are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies," the White House said.

On trade, the White House reaffirmed Trump's pledge to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free trade pact signed among 12 Asia-Pacific countries, and to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Unless a fair deal is reached in renegotiations, Trump will withdraw from NAFTA, it said.

"In addition to rejecting and reworking failed trade deals, the United States will crack down on those nations that violate trade agreements and harm American workers in the process," the White House said. "The president will direct the Commerce Secretary to identify all trade violations and to use every tool at the federal government’s disposal to end these abuses."


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