UNITED NATIONS — President Trump gave his starkest warning yet to the North Korean regime Tuesday, telling the United Nations General Assembly that the U.S. is prepared to destroy the rogue regime if forced to defend itself.
“The U.S. 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,” Trump warned in his speech.
“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime,” Trump said, referring to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. “The U.S. is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully, this will not be necessary.”
It is not the first time Trump has made the reference to “Rocket Man,” having done so in a tweet Sunday:
I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2017
Trump was expected to focus on North Korea, particularly in the wake of its recent missile launches and a hydrogen bomb test last month, but diplomats and commentators are likely to have been surprised by the nickname and the stark warning.
The United Nations Security Council has imposed multiple rounds of sanctions on the rogue regime, limiting its exports by 90 percent — but Trump has warned that they are “not a big deal” and only a small step compared to what needs to be done.
In the full-throated speech, where he also took aim at Iran and Venezuela in particular, Trump also attacked nations such as Russia and China, although he did not mention them by name, for trading with North Korea even as it brings the world to the brink of nuclear war.
“It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict,” he said.
He also said that he hoped the U.N. would work to de-escalate North Korea’s aggression: “That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.”
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics and U.N. reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.