- The Washington Times - Monday, November 6, 2017

President Trump asked Congress for $5.9 billion of emergency spending for missile defense Monday to counter the threat from North Korea, making the request as he travels across Asia to build support for confronting the nuclear-armed dictator Kim Jong-un.

The budget request sent to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan included $4 billion to enhance missile defense systems, $700 million to repair two damaged U.S. Navy warships and $1.2 billion to support the administration’s South Asia strategy.

“This request supports additional efforts to detect, defeat, and defend against any North Korean use of ballistic missiles against the United States, its deployed forces, allies, or partners,” Mr. Trump wrote.

The president noted that the repairs to the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald would improve America’s missile-defense posture.

“These ships provide critical naval presence and additional ballistic missile defense capabilities in the Asia-Pacific theater,” he said.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran applauded the move and called on his House and Senate colleagues to quickly approve the funding.

“The President’s request demonstrates that missile defense and military readiness remain a high priority for the President and our military and diplomatic leaders,” said Mr. Cochran, Mississippi Republican. “Providing additional funding for missile defense programs would reinforce the United States’ commitment to defend itself and its allies.”

Mr. Trump is in the midst of a 12-day trip to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. Confronting the nuclear threat from North Korea tops his agenda as he prods the region to increase pressure on Pyongyang to give up programs for nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

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