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Trump policy on N. Korea: 'Maximum pressure and engagement': report

All News 04:13 April 15, 2017

WASHINGTON, April 14 (Yonhap) -- The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has finalized its North Korea policy that would focus on "maximum pressure and engagement," a news report said Friday.

The Associated Press cited unidentified U.S. officials saying that the focus of the new policy will be on increasing pressure on Pyongyang with the help of China, a strategy that Trump has long advocated.

Engagement remains an option even though the current focus is on pressure, officials were quoted as saying. In addition, the goal of engagement should be the North's denuclearization, not an arms control deal that would imply U.S. acceptance of Pyongyang as a nuclear power, they said.

The Trump administration reached the conclusion after a two-month review during which advisers to Trump weighed a range of ideas for how to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, including "military options and trying to overthrow the isolated communist dictatorship's leadership," according to AP.

Officials also looked at the notion of accepting North Korea as a nuclear state, the report said.

The new policy came as tensions are running high on the Korean Peninsula amid fears that the North could carry out what would be its sixth nuclear test on Saturday to mark the birthday of late national founder Kim Il-sung, grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un.

Tensions spiked further as the U.S. has redirected an aircraft carrier strike group led by USS Carl Vinson to waters off the Korean Peninsula in a massive show of force designed to warn Pyongyang not to undertake any provocations.

A U.S. military official was quoted by AP as saying that the U.S. doesn't intend to use military force against the North in response to either a nuclear test or a missile launch. The official said plans could change in the unlikely event a North Korean missile targets South Korea, Japan or U.S. territory, according to AP.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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