At UN, Trump threatens to 'totally destroy North Korea'

Jerome Frank
September 20, 2017

"Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime", he 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".

Elected on the nationalist slogan "America First", Trump argued that individual nations should act in their own self-interest, yet rally together when faced with a common threat. "Make the United Nations great". He denounced "radical Islamic terrorism", the inflammatory label he has recently shied away from.

And the president will have to explain his direction on North Korea.

Shortly before Trump's speech, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed from the General Assembly lectern for statesmanship to avoid war with North Korea.

Still, Trump encouraged individual countries to come together on mutual challenges - such as countering North Korea, fighting poverty, and reforming the United Nations bureaucracy.

Trump blamed the regime for the deaths of millions of North Koreans as well as the imprisonment, torture, killing and oppression of "countless more". And he scolded nations that it was "an outrage" to enable and trade with North Korea, seeming to slight China, though he did not mention it by name.

Maintaining that "if the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph, " Trump said North Korea "imperils the world" and it is in no country's interest that it continue on its current path of nuclear and ballistic missile development. That may offer some reassurance to China and Russian Federation, which have urged the tone down its rhetoric and restart dialogue with North Korea.

The U.N. assembly hall was packed with diplomats and world leaders eager to take the measure of the new American president.

Since taking office, Trump has frequently tested global cooperation. He urged the world leaders to embrace their own "national sovereignty to do more to ensure the prosperity and security of their own countries". That's what the United Nations is all about.

"I will always put American first".

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Without prompting, he cautioned Republicans on Sunday against the instinct to "ram through our proposal" with a party-line vote. Cassidy-Graham faces a steep climb, with some Republican senators including Rand Paul of Kentucky already vocally opposing it.

"It's safe to say, in the entire history of the United Nations, there has never been a more straightforward criticism of the unacceptable behavior of other member states", Bolton said.

"Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it", Trump told the UN General Assembly.

Trump also railed against Venezuela and its leadership, saying the U.S. will help the Venezuelan people "regain their country and restore their democracy". While the willing and able to take military action, Trump added that "hopefully this will not be necessary".

The carefully crafted Trump warning suggested though that North Korea risked extermination only if it first attacked the United States or its allies, and Washington prefers to give a chance for Pyongyang to denuclearize.

The administration must decide in mid-October whether it will certify that Iran is still in compliance with the agreement.

"We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela", Trump said, adding that the USA has imposed sanctions against the government of President Nicolas Maduro and is prepared to do more. But he was harshly critical of socialism, especially as practiced in Cuba and Venezuela.

"This is the time for statesmanship", said the former prime minister of Portugal.

The speech drew varying reactions from leaders.

"In over 30 years in my experience with the United Nations, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech", said Netanyahu.

Who won't be there: Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the General Assembly, nor will China's President Xi Jinping.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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