Trump warns ‘rogue regime’ North Korea of grave danger
Donald Trump arrived in early November 2017 for his first trip to the Indo-Asia-Pacific as U.S. president seeking help to rein in North Korea. Trump told the reclusive state’s leader that he was putting his country in grave danger by developing nuclear weapons.
Trump used some of his toughest language yet against North Korea in a wide-ranging address in Seoul that lodged specific accusations of chilling human rights abuses. He called on countries around the world to isolate Pyongyang by denying it “any form of support, supply or acceptance.”
“Do not underestimate us and do not try us,” Trump told North Korea as he wrapped up a visit to South Korea with a speech to the National Assembly before heading to Beijing, where he was making his first official visit.
Trump painted a dystopian picture of the reclusive North, saying people were suffering in “gulags” and some bribed government officials to work as “slaves” overseas rather than live under the government at home. He offered no evidence to support those accusations.
A day earlier, Trump had offered a diplomatic opening to Pyongyang to “make a deal.” While his speech in Seoul mostly attacked North Korea, he promised a “path to a much better future” if North Korea stopped developing ballistic missiles and agreed to “complete, verifiable and total denuclearization” — something Pyongyang has vowed never to do.
“We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. We will not be intimidated,” Trump told South Korean lawmakers. “And we will not let the worst atrocities in history be repeated here, on this ground we fought and died to secure.”
The North defends its nuclear weapons and missile programs as a necessary defense against what it says are U.S. plans to invade. The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, denies any such intention.
“The world cannot tolerate the menace of a rogue regime that threatens it with nuclear devastation,” Trump said, speaking as three U.S. aircraft carrier groups sailed to the Western Pacific for exercises — a rare show of such U.S. naval force in the region. (Pictured: U.S. President Donald Trump, center, and First Lady Melania Trump leave after his speech at the National Assembly on November 8, 2017, in Seoul, South Korea.)
During his speech in Seoul, Trump directed his words at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“The weapons that you are acquiring are not making you safer, they are putting your regime in grave danger,” he said. “Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face.”
However, Trump, whose strategy has stressed sanctions and military pressure instead of diplomacy, did not spell out any new approach.
North Korea has made clear it has little interest in negotiations — at least until it develops a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland, something U.S. intelligence officials say North Korea may be just months away from achieving.
“North Korea is a country ruled by a cult,” Trump told the South Korean National Assembly in a speech that was interrupted several times by applause and ended with a standing ovation.