In his maiden UN speech, US Prez says US would totally destroy North Korea if required.
United Nations: A bellicose Donald Trump warned on Tuesday that “Rocket Man” Kim Jong-un is on a “suicide mission” and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it targets the US or its allies.
In his maiden, thunderous 41-minute address to the 193-member United Nations on Tuesday, the US President said, “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”
Mr Trump’s remarks rattled the leaders gathered before him in the green-marbled UN General Assembly hall, where minutes earlier UN secretary general Antonio Guterres had appealed for statesmanship.
As loud, startled murmurs filled the hall, Mr Trump described Mr Kim in an acid tone saying, “Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime.” His most direct military threat to attack North Korea was his latest expression of concern about Pyongyang’s repeated launching of ballistic missiles over Japan and underground nuclear tests.
Mr Trump urged the UN to work together to isolate the Kim government until it ceases its “hostile” behaviour. He said North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles “threatens the entire world with unthinkable cost of human life.”
In what may have been a veiled prod at China, the North’s major trading partner, Mr Trump said, “It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict.”
Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom crossed her arms. “It was the wrong speech at the wrong time to the wrong audience,” Ms Wallstrom later told the BBC.
North Korea’s mission to the UN did not respond to a request for comment. A junior North Korean diplomat sat in the delegation’s front-row sea, the North’s United Nations mission said.
Mr Trump boasted of America’s military strength, signalled he was ready to rip up a nuclear accord with the “murderous regime” in Tehran, and berated US foes in Pyongyang, Venezuela, Syria and Cuba.
Mr Trump pilloried Iran as a corrupt “rogue state” and threatened to rip up the landmark international deal struck in 2015 to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme. “Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me, it is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction.”
But, the US leader added, the greatest threat to the Tehran regime was not the American military, but the Iranian people who want change.
The speech provoked strong responses almost immediately drawing praise from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu although against expectations Mr Trump did not mention the Middle East Peace peace process, which he has promised to pursue. “In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech,” said Mr Netanyahu. “President Trump spoke the truth about the great dangers facing our world and issued a powerful call to confront them in order to ensure the future of humanity,” he said in a statement.
Mr Trump did not back away from his populist “America First” campaign rhetoric, but instead suggested it should be an example to other UN members. “Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests. As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interests above all else, but in fulfilling our obligations to our nations, we also realise that it;’s in everyone’s interests to seek the future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous and secure.” After decades in which America has led the drive towards a global rules-based order, Mr Trump indicated his foreign policy would define the national interest more narrowly.