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Trump advisers warn North Korea to give up weapons programs

The warnings also came a day after leader Kim Jong Un said North Korea was nearing its goal of “equilibrium” in military force with the United States.

world Updated: Sep 18, 2017 16:54 IST
The Associated Press
President Donald Trump will be making his first appearance at the UN General Assembly this week.
President Donald Trump will be making his first appearance at the UN General Assembly this week.(AP File Photo)

Top advisers to President Donald Trump on Sunday warned North Korea to give up its missile and nuclear weapons programs and to quit making threats against the US and its allies or face destruction.

The warnings came a day after leader Kim Jong Un vowed to continue the weapons programs, saying North Korea is nearing its goal of “equilibrium” in military force with the United States. They also came as world leaders begin arriving in New York for the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly this week, where North Korea will be high on the agenda.

Trump is making his first appearance at the UN General Assembly, his biggest moment on the world stage since January’s inauguration. He is scheduled to address the world body, which he has criticized as weak and incompetent, on Tuesday.

Trump tweeted Sunday that he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in discussed North Korea during their latest telephone conversation on Saturday. Trump spoke with Moon from his New Jersey golf club, where aides said he was spending the weekend preparing for his UN debut.

US National Security Adviser HR McMaster said Kim is “going to have to give up his nuclear weapons because the president has said he’s not going to tolerate this regime threatening the United States and our citizens with a nuclear weapon”.

Asked if that meant Trump would launch a military strike, McMaster said “he’s been very clear about that, that all options are on the table”.

Some doubt Kim — Trump referred to him as “Rocket Man” in Sunday’s tweet — will ever agree to give up his arsenal.

Kim has threatened Guam, a US territory in the Pacific, and has fired two missiles over Japan, a US ally in Asia, including a missile launched on Friday. North Korea also recently tested its most powerful bomb.

The UN Security Council has voted unanimously twice in recent weeks to tighten economic sanctions on North Korea, including targeting shipments of oil and other fuel used in missile testing. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said North Korea was starting to “feel the pinch.”

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said after Kim tested a hydrogen bomb earlier this month that the US will answer any threat from the North with a “massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.”