US President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, in New York City.(AFP Photo)
US President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, in New York City.(AFP Photo)

Trump at UN: If US is threatened, it will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea

During his speech at the UN General Assembly, Donald Trump said the world faces destructive threats from rogue states and “terrorists and extremists”.
By Yashwant Raj | Hindustan Times, Washington
UPDATED ON SEP 20, 2017 04:44 PM IST

In his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly, US President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, end the deal capping Iran’s nuclear weapons plan and reaffirmed his administration’s resolve to combat “radical Islamic terrorism”.

In a speech that ran just over 40 minutes, Trump also put on notice nations that provide terrorists “safe haven” – possibly Pakistan, but without naming it – and said in the context of South Asia and Afghanistan that terms of US engagement will be determined by “our security interest”, and not politics.

Trump laid out a vision of his foreign policy, which he called “principled realism”, that is moored in his call for every country to serve their people first, in line with his own “America First” thrust to his policies, respect each other’s sovereignty and cooperate as independent nations.

As first lady Melania Trump and senior members of his team, including secretary of state Rex Tillerson, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, National Security Adviser HR McMaster and treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, looked on, Trump took a tough line on North Korea and Iran, as had been previewed by aides.

He called the two countries, whose representatives sat stone-faced, “rogue nations” and used phrases such as “wicked few” and “band of criminals” for their leaders, as he sought to position the US as any ally of their people who, he said, were being oppressed and exploited by their rulers.

While Trump praised and thanked the UN Security Council for new sanctions imposed on Pyongyang, he said the US will be ready to defend itself if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom he mocked as “Rocket Man”, continued to threaten the US and its allies.

“We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said, going on to call Kim by the nickname he began using recently and which, according to news outlets, he personally insisted on retaining in the speech. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself.”

While he had thanked China and Russia for backing the new sanctions, he called on them to do more. “It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime (China is North Korea’s top trading partner), but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world,” he said.

Turning to Iran, Trump said the UN-backed deal capping its nuclear weapons programme was “an embarrassment” and it was “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the US has ever entered into”. He added: “I don’t think you’ve heard the end of it.”

Pivoting to counter-terrorism, Trump used the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism”, which has been found problematic by critics who argue it unfairly tars the entire community. “We will stop radical Islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation and indeed to tear up the entire world,” he said.

Trump then laid down in bare relief a threat to nations that harbour terrorists.

Terrorists must be denied “safe haven, transit, funding…or any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology”. He named no countries or regions but the context was clear.

“We must drive them out of our nations,” Trump said. “It’s time to expose and hold responsible those countries who support and finance terror groups like al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Taliban and others that slaughter innocent people.”

The naming of the Taliban was a clear reference to Pakistan, which has been under growing pressure from an increasingly frustrated US to do more to diminish the Haqqani Network, a Taliban faction that operates from Pakistani soil and targets Afghan and US-led coalition forces.

Trump went on to re-litigate the issue of the bloated bureaucracy at the UN, and said as the largest contributor to its budget, the US would like to see the world body focus on the basic principles of its foundation and stressed the need for other countries to step up.

Shortly before Trump’s speech, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed from the General Assembly lectern for statesmanship to avoid war with North Korea. “This is the time for statesmanship,” said the former prime minister of Portugal. “We must not sleepwalk our way into war.”

The Security Council has unanimously imposed nine rounds of sanctions on North Korea since 2006 and Guterres appealed for the 15-member body to maintain its unity on North Korea.

Trump has warned North Korea that military action was an option for the United States as Pyongyang has carried out a series of tests toward developing the ability to target the US with a nuclear-tipped missile.

Financial markets showed little reaction to Trump’s speech, with most major assets hovering near the unchanged mark on the day.

(With inputs from agencies)

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for national intelligence director Avril Haines arrives for a confirmation hearing before the Senate intelligence committee.(AP)
President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for national intelligence director Avril Haines arrives for a confirmation hearing before the Senate intelligence committee.(AP)

US spy chief nominee Haines vows ‘no place for politics’ in job

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 09:34 PM IST
Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the panel’s acting chairman, told Haines in his opening statement that she should concentrate on the threats posed by China.
Close
A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London.(AP)
A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London.(AP)

EU looking to inoculate 70% of adults by June

AFP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 09:32 PM IST
That aim, agreed in a meeting of all EU commissioners, comes as most member states are struggling to achieve liftoff with their vaccination programmes.
Close
Alex Goldfarb poses for a photo with members of Alpine Club of Pakistan in Islamabad, Pakistan December 29, 2020. Karrar Haidri/Alpine Club of Pakistan/Handout via REUTERS(via REUTERS)
Alex Goldfarb poses for a photo with members of Alpine Club of Pakistan in Islamabad, Pakistan December 29, 2020. Karrar Haidri/Alpine Club of Pakistan/Handout via REUTERS(via REUTERS)

Body of American mountaineer found near K2 in northern Pakistan

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 09:26 PM IST
Goldfarb and Hungarian Zoltan Szlanko were planning to climb the 8,047 metre (26,400 feet) high Broad Peak, which has yet to be ascended in winter, without the use of oxygen or any porters for help, according to Magyar Expedicios.
Close
Britain's Foreign Affairs Secretary Dominic Raab arrives at Downing Street, in London. (REUTERS)
Britain's Foreign Affairs Secretary Dominic Raab arrives at Downing Street, in London. (REUTERS)

UK lawmakers debate 'genocide' clause to China trade deals

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 09:05 PM IST
The amendment to the government’s post-Brexit trade bill, which already passed by a majority in Parliament’s House of Lords, is largely designed to force international action in addressing China’s alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur minority.
Close
A US military aide carries the "president's emergency satchel," also know as "the football," with the nuclear launch codes.(AP)
A US military aide carries the "president's emergency satchel," also know as "the football," with the nuclear launch codes.(AP)

How ‘nuclear football’ handover to occur at inauguration in Trump’s absence

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 08:52 PM IST
Trump has currently the sole legal authority to authorise the use of the nuclear arsenal, which would transfer to President-elect Joe Biden at 12pm on January 20.
Close
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan(Reuters)
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan(Reuters)

Pakistan opposition protests against delay in PM party's foreign funding case

PTI, Islamabad
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 08:28 PM IST
The case launched in 2014 is based on charges that Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party got financial support from abroad by flouting rules.
Close
President Donald Trump speaks with a flag behind him during a campaign rally at Cecil Airport in Jacksonville, Florida, (Reuters)
President Donald Trump speaks with a flag behind him during a campaign rally at Cecil Airport in Jacksonville, Florida, (Reuters)

Citizen Trump: The many paths ahead for the ex-President

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 08:01 PM IST
Before the Capitol riot, it looked like Trump would remain the Republican Party standard-bearer, either running for president himself again in 2024 or acting as kingmaker in the GOP field. But some believe January 6 changed all that.
Close
Medical workers in protective suits walk near the residential area at Jordan, after the expand of mandatory coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing, in Hong Kong, China.(Reuters)
Medical workers in protective suits walk near the residential area at Jordan, after the expand of mandatory coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing, in Hong Kong, China.(Reuters)

Hong Kong unemployment rises to highest level since 2004

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 07:12 PM IST
Local businesses are struggling under strict social distancing measures and a lack of tourism. Restrictions on group gatherings, early restaurant closures and shuttered bars have curbed consumer spending in the city state.
Close
FILE - In this May 29, 2020, file photo, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine meets with the media at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa. President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. (Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-News via AP, File)(AP)
FILE - In this May 29, 2020, file photo, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine meets with the media at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa. President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. (Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-News via AP, File)(AP)

Biden picks transgender woman as assistant health secretary

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 07:11 PM IST
A graduate of Harvard and of Tulane Medical School, Levine is president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. She's written in the past on the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders and LGBTQ medicine.
Close
A mammoth cleanup effort involving thousands of police, firemen and military personnel has restored some degree of normality to the city and most public transport has been restored. (Representative Image)(AFP)
A mammoth cleanup effort involving thousands of police, firemen and military personnel has restored some degree of normality to the city and most public transport has been restored. (Representative Image)(AFP)

Spain declares disaster-zone status for Madrid, other storm-hit regions

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 06:51 PM IST
The storm brought the heaviest snowfall in decades and caused at least 1.4 billion euros ($1.70 billion) in damage to the Spanish capital, according to a preliminary estimate from the mayor's office, though opposition parties have disputed that number.
Close
FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2020, file photo, Tony Blinken speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. Blinken as his secretary of state. President-elect Joe Biden nominated Blinken as his secretary of state. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)(AP)
FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2020, file photo, Tony Blinken speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. Blinken as his secretary of state. President-elect Joe Biden nominated Blinken as his secretary of state. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)(AP)

Biden admin will engage the world 'as it is', not 'as it was': Antony Blinken

PTI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 06:43 PM IST
Blinken in his prepared testimony to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations ahead of his confirmation hearing also did not rule out a military intervention overseas if the lives of Americans were at stake.
Close
Damaged cars covered with snow after multiple accidents on the snowy Tohoku Expressway in Osaki city, northern Japan.(AP)
Damaged cars covered with snow after multiple accidents on the snowy Tohoku Expressway in Osaki city, northern Japan.(AP)

Snowstorm causes 134-car pile-up on Japanese highway, 1 dead

Reuters
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 06:44 PM IST
Authorities had imposed a speed limit of 50 kph (31 mph) when heavy snow cut visibility but that was not enough to prevent disaster.
Close
Confusion over Pfizer/BioNTech vial volumes emerged in December, when US hospital pharmacists realised that preparing the vaccine, by mixing it with saline solution, yielded enough liquid for at least six 0.30 ml doses.(AFP)
Confusion over Pfizer/BioNTech vial volumes emerged in December, when US hospital pharmacists realised that preparing the vaccine, by mixing it with saline solution, yielded enough liquid for at least six 0.30 ml doses.(AFP)

European countries struggle to make most of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 06:35 PM IST
Officials and healthcare professionals in France, Germany and Switzerland all pointed to yields short of six doses, adding to frustrations in countries already lagging vaccination campaigns in nations such as Britain and the United States.
Close
Residents queue up for the mandatory coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing at a makeshift community testing centre at Jordan, in Hong Kong, China January 19, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu(REUTERS)
Residents queue up for the mandatory coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing at a makeshift community testing centre at Jordan, in Hong Kong, China January 19, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu(REUTERS)

'One village, one policy': China keeps it local to battle Covid wave

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 06:34 PM IST
Addressing new clusters in Hebei and elsewhere, the National Health Commission (NHC) said last week that local officials needed to be on their guard and avoid "one size fits all" solutions.
Close
In August, 233 Indians, mostly students from all over China, left for home on the Guangzhou-Delhi Vande Bharat Mission special flight, in Guangzhou. (ANI file)
In August, 233 Indians, mostly students from all over China, left for home on the Guangzhou-Delhi Vande Bharat Mission special flight, in Guangzhou. (ANI file)

China gives no return date for Indian students stranded home

By Sutirtho Patranobis
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 07:04 PM IST
More than 23,000 Indians study in China. All but a handful had returned in a staggered manner in 2020 following the Covid-19 outbreak in China but are now stranded in their home country because Beijing has banned foreign students from returning to universities.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP