US President Donald Trump has once again returned to fiery rhetoric against North Korea, threatening Pyongyang with “destruction” if it continues nuclear “provocations.”
Addressing South Korea’s National Assembly on Wednesday, Trump attempted to portray his administration as much more willing than former US administrations to resort to military action against the North.
“This is a very different administration than the United States has had in the past,” Trump said. “Do not underestimate us. And do not try us,” he added, apparently addressing North Korea.
Trump, who was wrapping up his visit to Seoul, said, “We will not let the worst atrocities in history be repeated here, on this ground we fought and died to secure.”
“We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. We will not be intimidated,” he added.
In what he called a “direct” message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the US president said, “The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer, they are putting your regime in grave danger.”
“Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face,” Trump said. “North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves.”
On the eve of a visit to China, he further called on countries around the world, including China and Russia, to step up their efforts to isolate North Korea by denying “it any form of support, supply, or acceptance.”
In earlier, confused remarks, he had threatened North Korea with military action while inviting it to make a deal with Washington.
North ‘to bolster nuclear capabilities’
In a reaction to Trump’s rhetoric, the North reiterated that it “will further bolster our nuclear, treasured sword of justice and defend our sovereignty and justice with nuclear weapons.”
In a commentary on Tuesday, the official publication of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Rodong Sinmun, rebuked “the US and its puppets’… hostile acts and invasive attempts against” Pyongyang. It reassured that “as long as imperialism, the root of evil and injustice, is left on Earth, we will further build up our nuclear power.”
“US warmongers are increasing extreme tension here by holding a joint military exercise in the nearby waters of the peninsula with three nuclear aircraft carrier strike groups,” wrote the newspaper, adding that North Korea expected “provocation” during Trump’s Asia visit.
Three US carrier strike groups are expected to carry out war games in the Western Pacific during Trump’s visit this week, according to US officials, who declined to disclose the exact day of the drills.
This would be the first time that three US carrier strike groups would together take part in a drill since 2007.
Making a pitch to sell American military equipment
During his trip to Seoul, Trump praised South Korea for purchasing billions of dollars’ worth of US military hardware.
During his visit to Japan, he told Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that US weapons would help shoot down North Korean ballistic missiles. He encouraged the Japanese prime minister to “shoot them (the North Korean missiles) out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of additional military equipment from the United States.”
He even called on Abe to purchase “massive amounts of military equipment, as he should,” boasting that “we make the best military equipment by far.”
China is Trump’s next destination, where he would also discuss North Korea. He will also be visiting the Philippines and Vietnam during his tour of Asia.