Donald Trump’s administration has ramped up the pressure on North Korea ahead of a week of high-stakes diplomacy at the United Nations, warning Pyongyang will be “destroyed” if it refuses to end its “reckless” nuclear and ballistic missile drive.
The US president will address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday and then confer on Thursday with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts on the sidelines of the meeting to find ways to contain an increasingly belligerent Pyongyang.
Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-In spoke by phone Saturday night and pledged “stronger pressure” on Kim Jong-Un’s regime, the South’s presidential office said, adding that the North must be made to realize that “further provocation” would put it on a “path of collapse.”
The Security Council last Monday imposed a new set of sanctions on North Korea. However, all eyes are on China, Pyongyang’s ally and main economic partner, if it will fully implement them and on Russia, which is hosting tens of thousands of North Korean workers.
Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, asserted that if the North should pose a serious threat to the US or its allies, “North Korea will be destroyed.”
Trump’s earlier warning he would rain “fire and fury” on North Korea, she said, was “not an empty threat.”
South Korea is also deploying a state-of-the-art US missile defense system to protect itself from the North Korean missiles. Analysts have stated that in the event of hostilities, millions of people in the Seoul area – as well as the 30,000 US troops positioned in South Korea – would be vulnerable to attack by North Korean missiles positioned near the border.
So far, every effort to persuade the North to back off from its fast-developing nuclear and missile programs have failed.
On September 3, the rogue state detonated a nuclear bomb five times more powerful than the weapon dropped on Hiroshima.
Tensions have spiked this year as Kim repeatedly launched missiles sparking global condemnation.