Trump warns of ‘very rough’ ‘Phase Two’ against North Korea if sanctions don’t work: ‘Very, very unfortunate for the world’

President Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull give a press conference at the White House, February 23, 2018. CNN
  • President Donald Trump suggested a “Phase Two” in the US’s strategy against North Korea if its sanctions were ineffective.
  • Trump did not say what that phase would entail.
  • Earlier in the day, Trump announced new sanctions against North Korea that would target its trading activity.

President Donald Trump proposed a strategy against North Korea if the US’s latest sanctions were not effective in curbing the regime’s provocations on Friday.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump was asked whether “all options were on the table” against the regime.

“We’ll have to see,” Trump said. “I don’t think I’m gonna exactly play that card. But we’ll have to see.”

Hours before the press conference, Trump announced a fresh set of sanctions against North Korea, which he lauded as the “heaviest sanctions ever imposed” by the US.

“If the sanctions don’t work, we’ll have to go Phase Two,” Trump continued. “Phase Two may be a very rough thing. Maybe very, very unfortunate for the world.”

Trump did not discuss what “Phase Two” would entail. But a preemptive “bloody nose” strike against North Korea was reportedly proposed by White House officials and then taken off the table. The limited strike, which was criticised by foreign policy experts, was intended to send a message in an effort to curb North Korea’s provocations, including its weapons program.

“But hopefully the sanctions will work,” Trump said. “We have tremendous support all around the world for what we’re doing.”

Trump continued: “It really is rogue nation. If we can make a deal, it will be a great thing. And if we can’t, something will have to happen. So we’ll see.”