By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — U.S. President Donald Trump has used his first address to the UN General Assembly to call on members to take a harder line against North Korea and Iran — threatening to “totally destroy North Korea” if the United Nations fails to address the threats it poses, and to abandon Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
In his September 19 speech, Trump spoke in tough terms about the threat to global security posed by North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
He referred to North Korean leader Kim Jung Un as “Rocket Man,” saying he was on a “suicide mission.”
“The United States 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 said.
“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” Trump said. “The United States is ready, willing, and able. But hopefully, this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.”
Trump welcomed recent UN Security Council sanctions imposed against North Korea over its latest nuclear weapons tests, but told the General Assembly that “we must do much more.”
“It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior,” Trump said.
“If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” Trump said. “When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.”
The UN Security Council has imposed several rounds of sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Pyongyang warned on September 18 that more sanctions and pressure will only make it accelerate its nuclear program.
The Chinese and Russian foreign ministers, Wang Yi and Sergei Lavrov, called for a peaceful end to what they termed a “vicious cycle” on the Korean Peninsula as they met in New York, China’s Foreign Ministry said on September 19.
Moscow and Beijing are calling for North Korea to stop its missile and nuclear tests in exchange for the United States and South Korea holding off on future large joint military drills.
Iran Nuclear Deal ‘Worst, Most One-Sided’
Trump also said it was “far past time” for the countries of the world to confront Iran, which he called “another reckless” and “murderous regime” that is “undermining peace throughout the Middle East.”
He said Tehran cannot be allowed to continue developing its “dangerous missiles.”
Speaking about Iran’s nuclear deal with six world powers, Trump told the General Assembly, “We cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program.”
Trump said the Iran nuclear deal was “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”
“Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me,” Trump said.
“The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy,” Trump said, describing the country as an “economically-depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos.”
“It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction.”
U.S. and UN watchdogs monitoring compliance have found Iran has adhered to the accord, which eased international economic sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear activities.
However, the Trump administration has frequently charged that Tehran breaks the “spirit” of the deal, including by continuing to test-launch ballistic missiles and rockets capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It has also lobbied for tougher nuclear inspections in Iran, including at military sites.
Trump also had criticism for Russia and China, saying, “We must reject threats to sovereignty from Ukraine to the South China Sea.”