WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump warned on Tuesday that North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons might very soon threaten the US mainland, and he would respond with maximum pressure, and not with complacency.
“Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position,” Trump said during his State of the Union speech to Congress.
“North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening,” he added.
Trump, after criticizing the “dictatorships” in Cuba and Venezuela, argued that “no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally and more brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.”
“We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies,” he said.
He cited the case of an American tourist, Otto Warmbier, who died after being detained in North Korea, and whose parents, Fred and Cindy, were among the public invited by Trump to witness his speech.
“After a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard labor, before returning him to America last June – horribly injured and on the verge of death. He passed away just days after his return,” Trump said.
The president also cited the case of Ji Seong-ho, a young North Korean, who was among his guests and who left the Asian country with his family fleeing the famine.
“Seong-ho traveled thousands of miles on crutches across China and South East Asia to freedom. Most of his family followed. His father was caught trying to escape, and was tortured to death,” said Trump, adding that the young man lost a leg while escaping.
“Today he lives in Seoul, where he rescues other defectors, and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears the most – the truth,” Trump said.