Accessibility links

Breaking News

'Do Not Underestimate Us,' Trump Warns North Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the National Assembly in Seoul on November 8.
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the National Assembly in Seoul on November 8.

U.S. President Donald Trump has warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un not to test the United States' resolve, telling him that the world "cannot tolerate the menace of a rogue regime that threatens it with nuclear devastation."

In a speech to the South Korean parliament on November 8, Trump said the nuclear weapons that Pyongyang was developing "are not making you safer, they are putting your regime in grave danger."

"Do not underestimate us and do not try us," Trump told North Korea, using some of his toughest language yet against Pyongyang.

In a wide-ranging address, Trump described a bleak image of Kim's rule as an oppressive, despotic regime, launching specific accusations of chilling human rights abuses against Pyongyang and calling on countries around the world to isolate North Korea by denying it "any form of support, supply, or acceptance."

"We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. We will not be intimidated," he told South Korean legislators. "And we will not let the worst atrocities in history be repeated here, on this ground we fought and died to secure."

While using harsh language against Kim's regime, Trump nevertheless did promise a "path to a much better future" for North Korea if it stopped developing ballistic missiles and agreed to "complete, verifiable, and total denuclearization."

Trump spoke as three U.S. aircraft-carrier groups sailed to the Western Pacific for exercises, in an unusual show of such U.S. naval force in the region.

Earlier in the day, bad weather forced Trump to abandon a surprise visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides the two Koreas. The White House said the president was "pretty frustrated" because he could not make the trip to the DMZ.

Trump then arrived in China, the next leg of his extended tour of Asia that began with a visit to Japan. U.S. officials say he will press a reluctant Beijing, North Korea main ally and trade partner, to step up pressure on Kim to abandon his nuclear ambitions.

A senior White House official on November 8 specified after Trump's arrival in Beijing that he would ask Chinese President Xi Jinping to cut financial ties with North Korea and to abide by United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang.

Trump was scheduled to stay in Beijing for two nights before traveling on to Vietnam on November 10 where he was scheduled to deliver a speech to leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also had been scheduled to give a speech at the 21-nation forum on November 10, but Putin's speech has reportedly been canceled.

Nevertheless, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on November 8 that Putin still planned to meet with Trump on the sidelines of the summit.

Lavrov said the agenda of Putin's talks with Trump would include "bilateral relations" as well as "international relations, Syria, North Korea, and Ukraine."

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, BBC, TASS, and Interfax