Refusing to back down on his five-nation Asian trip, 71-year-old President Donald Trump told the South Korean National Assembly that Kim Jong-un’s North Korea is a living “hell,” contrasting it with prosperous South Korea. When the Korean War ended July 27, 1953, North Korea continued its totalitarian ways, sending South Korean down a different path of free market capitalism. Fifty-four years later North Korean has the economy of a country in sub-Saharan Africa, in contrast to South Korea boasting the 20th ranked economy in the world. “North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned,” Trump told the South Korean National Assembly. “It is a hell that no person deserves,” Trump’s remarks reminded South Korea that the U.S. cannot accept a nuclear-armed North Korea, demanding nothing short of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Trump spoke to the 33-year-old North Korean dictator, telling him that his nuclear and ballistic missiles threaten his regime. “Do not underestimate us and do not try us,” warning Pyongyang that detonating nukes and shooting off ballistic missiles will result in U.S. military action. For 25 years since former President Bill Clinton, U.S. policy allowed North Korea to develop its nuke and ballistic missile program. “We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction,” Trump told South Korean lawmakers. South Korean President Moon Jae-in wants a peaceful resolution to the Korean crisis but can’t guarantee that a nuclear-armed North Korean wouldn’t threaten the U.S. with a nuclear strike. North Korean Foreign Minster Ri Yong-ho said Sept. 23 that its “inevitable” nuclear-tipped missiles would hit the United States.
North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said Sept. 13 that it would reduce the U.S. to “ashes and darkness,” “sink” Japan and “wipe out” South Korea Trump let South Korea know that whatever the risks—or the sacrifices—that U.S. will no longer appease North Korea. No one in South Korea wants military conflict with North Korea. But they know that a nuclear-armed North Korea would imperil the Pacific Rim and the U.S. “The world cannot tolerate the menace of a rogue regime that threatens it with nuclear devastation,” said Trump, knowing that former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama did almost nothing to stop North Korea’s nukes and ballistic missiles. Trump’s left no doubt that if North Korea doesn’t disarm, and do it quickly, he’s willing to use U.S. military power to neutralize Kim’s nukes and ballistic missiles.
China rolled out the red carpet for Trump, giving him the kind of fanfare not given to former President Barack Obama. Trump’s rapport with China’s 64-year-old President Xi Jinping is real, with both presidents celebrating a new era in U.S.-Chinese relations. While Xi wants Trump to settle the North Korean crisis diplomatically but knows there are limits to what China can do to bring Kim to the bargaining table. Expecting to consummate billions of deals with China, Trump wants Xi to uphold U.N. sanctions on North Korea. Xi promised to do that and more. Xi made it clear with a heartfelt promise in Beijing that he pledged his commitment to U.S.-Chinese relations. If Trump must take military action to protect U.S. national security, he expects Xi to have his back. Trump promised Xi that China would play a custodial role in any post-Kim Jong-un North Korea.
Trump wanted North Korea to know that pursuing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens Kim’s regime. No one in the U.N. or European Union understands that the U.S. can’t tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea. Trump wants Kim to disarm or face full force of the U.S. military. “The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer, they’re putting you’re regime in grave danger,” Trump said. “Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face,” putting Pyongyang on notice that Trump will not let Kim develop a nuclear-tipped Intercontinental Ballistic Missile [ICBM]. Kim wants to wait, before going to the bargaining table, until he has an ICBM to hit the U.S. There’s no way Trump’s willing to cede Kim the leverage of an operational ICBM. Xi wants diplomacy but understands Trump’s in a difficult position.
Trump’s Asian trip has produced billions in trade deals and more consensus about how to deal with North Korea. U.S. press won’t give Trump credit for having a far better relationship with China than former President Barack Obama. By all metrics, Trump succeeded in winning China’s support for U.S. policy on Pyongyang. Staying consistent with denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, Trump has made it difficult for China to back its onetime ally during the Korean War. China’s future is inextricably attached to the United States, realizing that its market capitalism is the only path to prosperity for its 1.4 billion people. When Trump meets Russian President Vladimir Putin Nov. 10 at the East Asian summit in Danang, Vietnam, he’ll try to get his support on North Korea. Only the U.S. press can’t report accurately on Trumps Asia accomplishments.