Trump declares North Korea threat to the civilized world.

El presidente Donald Trump en una conferencia de prensa junto con el primer ministro japonés Shinzo Abe en el palacio de Akasaka en Tokio el 6 de noviembre del 2017. . (Kiyoshi Ota/Pool Photo via AP)
Donald Trump, Shinzo Abe, Melania Trump, Akie Abe, Koichiro Iizuka
CORRECTS TO JAPANESE ABDUCTED BY NORTH KOREA- President Donald Trump, center, speaks as Trump and first lady Melania Trump, right, meet with the families of Japanese abducted by North Korea at the Akasaka Palace, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Tokyo. Trump is on a five country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is at center left while his wife Akie at far left. At center rear is Koichiro Iizuka, whose mother Yaeko Taguchi was abducted by North Korean agents in 1978. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

TOKYO (AP) — Declaring that North Korea was “a threat to the civilized world,” President Donald Trump vowed Monday in Japan that the United States “will not stand” for Pyongyang menacing America or its allies.

Trump, in one of the Asian capitals threatened by North Korea’s missiles, did not rule out military action and exhorted dictator Kim Jong Un to cease weapons testing like the missiles he has fired over Japanese territory in recent weeks. The president also denounced efforts by the Obama administration to manage Pyongyang, declaring again that “the era of strategic patience was over.”  “Some people say my rhetoric is very strong but look what has happened with very weak rhetoric in last 25 years,” said Trump, who stood with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a news conference and stated that North Korea imperiled “international peace and stability.”

Abe, who has taken a more hawkish view on North Korea than some of his predecessors, agreed with Trump’s assessment that “all options on the table” when dealing with Kim Jong Un and announced new sanctions against several dozen North Korea individuals. The two men also put a face on the threat posed by the North, earlier standing with anguished families of Japanese citizens snatched by Pyongyang’s agents, as Trump called their abductions “a tremendous disgrace.”

Trump pledged to work to return the missing to their families, intensifying the pressure on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by elevating these heart-wrenching tales of loss to the international stage in hopes of pushing Pyongyang to end its provocative behavior toward American allies in the region.

Donald Trump, William Hagerty
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with U.S. and Japanese Business Leaders at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Tokyo. Trump is on a five country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“We’ve just heard the very sad stories about family members — daughters, wives, brothers uncles, fathers – it’s a very, very sad number of stories that we’ve heard,” Trump said

Trump and first lady Melania Trump stood with nearly two dozen relatives, some of whom held photos of the missing. North Korea has acknowledged apprehending 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s, but claims they all died or have been released. But in Japan, where grieving relatives of the abducted have become a symbol of heartbreak on the scale of American POW families, the government insists many more were taken — and that some may still be alive.

Trump has delivered harsh denunciations of Kim, belittling him as “Little Rocket Man” but suggested that it would be “a tremendous signal” if North Korea returned the captives.

But Trump’s message on the second day of his five-country Asian tour was overshadowed by another tragic shooting back home.


President Donald Trump and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe get set to stop off a platform during an honor guard ceremony at the Akasaka Palace, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Tokyo. Trump is on a five country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Trump called the Texas church shooting that claimed at least 26 lives “an act of evil,” denounced the violence in “a place of sacred worship” and pledged the full support of the federal government. He said that in a time of grief “Americans will do what we do best: we pull together and join hands and lock arms and through the tears and sadness we stand strong.”

He later suggested that the shooter had mental health issues and waved off a question about gun control, saying of the massacre, “this isn’t a guns situation.”

Trump and Abe repeatedly touted their bond over two days that included a round of golf, a hamburger with American beef and a couples’ dinner at a teppanyaki restaurant.

“The relationship is really extraordinary. We like each other and our countries like each other,” Trump said. “And I don’t think we’ve ever been closer to Japan than we are right now.”

But disagreements on trade could strain the friendship.

Trump complained Monday that Japan had been “winning” for decades and rebuked the current relationship, saying the trade deals were “not fair and not open.” He told a group of American and Japanese business leaders: the United States was open for business, but he wanted to reshape the nations’ trade relationship, though he did not say how he would cut the trade deficit with Japan, which totaled nearly $70 billion last year.

Donald Trump, Melania Trump, Akihito, Michiko
U.S. President Donald Trump, center left, and First Lady Melania Trump, left, are welcomed by Emperor Akihito, second from right, Empress Michiko, right, upon their arrival at the Imperial Palace Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, Pool)

He also downplayed the potentially contentious nature of the negotiations, though the Japanese government has not shown much appetite for striking a new bilateral trade agreement. Tokyo had pushed to preserve the Trans- Pacific Partnership, which Trump has abandoned.

“We will have more trade than anybody ever thought under TPP. That I can tell you,” Trump said. He said the multinational agreement was not the right deal for the United States and that while “probably some of you in this room disagree … ultimately I’ll be proven to be right.”

Abe, for his part, publicly deflected questions about trade.

The president seemed at ease in front of his CEO peers, calling out some by name, teasing that the first lady had to sell her Boeing stock once he took office and calling for Japanese automakers to make more of their cars in America, though major companies like Toyota and Nissan already build many vehicles in the United States. He promised that profits would soon rise on both sides of the Pacific once new agreements were struck.

“We’ll have to negotiate that out and it’ll be a very friendly negotiation,” Trump said, suggesting it would be done “quickly” and “easily.”

Donald Trump, Shinzo Abe, Melania Trump, Akie Abe
U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, second from left, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, and his wife Akie Abe, speaks to members of the media before having dinner at Ginza Ukai Tei, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Tokyo. Trump is on a five-country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Japan orchestrated a lavish formal welcome for the Trumps, complete with military honor guard and an audience with Japan’s Emperor Akihito and his wife, Empress Michiko, at the Imperial Palace.

That event, like so much formal diplomacy in Asia, is stepped in tradition, with violations of protocol potentially considered grievous offenses. Trump, meanwhile, sports a spontaneous and, at times, impatient manner, on display again Monday when he and Abe took part in a traditional feeding of koi in a pond.

At first, Trump followed Abe’s lead by gently spooning out small amounts of feed into the pond below. But while Abe then gracefully slipped the remainder of his box into the pond below, Trump abruptly stopped and, as cameras clicked, theatrically dumped the rest of his supply down to the fish.

Abe laughed.

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Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

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