North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-Un responded forcefully to President Donald Trump’s UN speech, vowing to make the United States “pay dearly” for it.
In his speech on Tuesday, President Trump called out the North Korea regime for its continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
“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,” he said.
Trump’s comments echoed those of Defense Minister James Mattis who said earlier this month that the United States has the capability to completely destroy North Korea if needed, and that he had provided the president with detailed briefings on all of the options.
“We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea. But as I said, we have many options to do so,” Mattis said on Sept. 3.
On Friday, Trump described Kim as “a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people” and that he “will be tested like never before.”
North Korea’s communist dictatorship shocked the world earlier this month with the test of a new nuclear bomb, which is estimated to have been multiple times stronger than the atomic weapons used on Japan in World War II, and its launch of two ballistic missiles over Japan in less than a month.
Complicating North Korea’s military threat and the U.S. response to it is the large arsenal of conventional and chemical weapons that the North has at its disposal against U.S. ally South Korea. The regime is estimated to have over 14,000 pieces of artillery in its possession, many of which are strategically located in bunkers in the mountains on the border with South Korea.
With South Korea’s capital located just 35 miles from the border, the North could wreak devastation on the city, which has a population of over 25 million in its metropolitan area.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un complained in a defiant statement released by North Korea’s KNCA state media of Trump’s strong statements, saying they “had never been heard from any of his predecessors.”
In his statement, Kim seemed surprised by Trump’s threat of destroying North Korea completely, saying that it went beyond the usual threat of regime change.
Trump’s threat of military action and his unwillingness to back down in the face of North Korean nuclear and missile tests are indeed in contrast to the positions held by previous U.S. presidents.
Trump has said on multiple occasions that the strategy of talks with North Korea, which have lasted now for over 20 years, are not working. He has also said that previous U.S. presidents allowed the North to develop its nuclear weapon.
Under the diplomatic Joint Framework Agreement reached by President Bill Clinton in 1994, the north was provided aid, including two light nuclear reactors, in exchange for it ending its nuclear weapons program.
However, the North never stopped its nuclear program, and instead has developed nuclear weapons—including a miniaturized nuclear warhead, according to an analysis by the Defense Intelligence Agency—and the missile technology needed to deliver it.
In addition to Kim’s statement, a separate article published by North Korea’s state media seemed equally at unease with Trump’s strong stance.