Trump warns N. Korea not to ‘ try us’ with its nukes

Pres­i­dent makes ap­peal to ‘ re­spon­si­ble na­tions’

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION/ WORLD - David Jack­son

BEI­JING – In the morn­ing, Pres­i­dent Trump urged world lead­ers to rally against North Korea and its nu­clear weapons.

By the af­ter­noon Wed­nes­day, Trump al­ready was off to Bei­jing to meet the key fig­ure in that ef­fort: China’s Xi Jin­ping.

Per­suad­ing China to cut off eco­nomic sup­port for North Korea is es­sen­tial to Trump’s hopes of pres­sur­ing Kim Jong Un’s gov­ern­ment into giv­ing up nu­clear weapons, a plan he out­lined in his high- pro­file speech to the South Korea Na­tional As­sem­bly in Seoul.

Ar­gu­ing that the world can­not tol­er­ate a “rogue regime” that threat­ens “nu­clear dev­as­ta­tion,” Trump en­cour­aged all coun­tries to ratchet up eco­nomic and diplo­matic pres­sure on North Korea and de­mand that Kim’s gov­ern­ment give up nu­clear weapons.

“All re­spon­si­ble na­tions must join forces to iso­late the bru­tal regime of North Korea” and deny it eco­nomic sup­port or diplo­matic ac­cep­tance, Trump told the South Korean Na­tional As­sem­bly in a for­mal ad­dress that in­cluded re­peated warn­ings to Kim’s gov­ern­ment.

“I hope I speak not only for our coun­tries, but for all civ­i­lized na­tions, when I say to the North: Do not un­der­es­ti­mate us, and do not try us,” Trump told leg­is­la­tors. “We will not al­low Amer­i­can cities to be threat- ened with de­struc­tion. We will not be in­tim­i­dated.”

His call is aimed mainly at China, North Korea’s ma­jor eco­nomic pa­tron.

Yet Trump and Xi’s plans in­cluded a tour of the For­bid­den City, an opera, and a lav­ish state din­ner.

The real talks come Thurs­day in Bei­jing. After a for­mal wel­come cer­e­mony, Trump and Xi host a se­ries of bi­lat­eral meet­ings be­fore ad­dress­ing the me­dia.

North Korea has been a cen­tral focus of Trump’s Asia tour, though Chi­nese of­fi­cials have said their in­flu­ence with Kim is limited.

In the Seoul speech, Trump made sev­eral self- ref­er­ences – in­clud­ing the fact that the speech fell on the one- year an­niver­sary of his elec­tion. In prais­ing South Korea’s con­tri­bu­tions to the world, Trump men­tioned its many world- class golfers, and stressed that some of them played at this year’s U. S. Women’s Open held at the pres­i­dent’s club in Bed­min­ster, N. J.

Trump spoke just a few hours after he tried to visit the De­mil­i­ta­rized Zone be­tween South and North Korea, only to be foiled by fog that kept his he­li­copter grounded.

In con­demn­ing Kim, Trump her­alded the U. S.- South Korea al­liance.

Link­ing the Korean War to to­day’s nu­clear chal­lenges, Trump said, “We will not let the worst atroc­i­ties in his­tory be re­peated here, on this ground we fought and died so hard to se­cure.”

POOL PHOTO BY JEON HEON- KYUN

Pres­i­dent Trump burns in­cense dur­ing his visit Wed­nes­day to the Na­tional Ceme­tery in Seoul.

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