Published On: Tue, Sep 19th, 2017

Trump vows to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea, warns Taliban supporters

United Nations: In his maiden address to the UN General Assembly, US President Donald Trump on Tuesday trumpeted his own achievements and pledged to “totally destroy” North Korea after calling its regime a “band of criminals”.

From now our security interests will dictate the length and scope of our military action

Amid escalating crisis in the Korean peninsula, a combative Trump referred to “rogue nations” as “the scourge of our planet.” Moments later, he called out North Korea by name, rattling off a list of human rights violations in that country.

Speaking about North Korea’s nuclear threat, he dubbed the Pyongyang regime “depraved” and a “band of criminals”. He urged the UN to further isolate it by imposing more sanctions and threatened to “totally destroy” the country.

He referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a “rocket man”, adding that the dictator was on a suicide mission with his nuclear programme that has triggered global concerns.

Trump, who took office in January, also focussed on himself.

He opened his address by saying that the US had done well since he entered the White House. The stock market was at an all time high and unemployment in the US was at its lowest level.

Trump told the world leaders at the UN that terrorists were gaining strength everywhere but insisted that peace was possible.

“To put it simply, we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril. Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet.”

The US, he said, was prepared to combat global instability through military might. “Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been.”

He underlined that he would always put American interests above all else. And he quickly urged other nations to do the same.

“In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.”

Over the past week, Trump has signalled his frustrations with the Iranian nuclear deal that former President Barack Obama made.

On Tuesday, he derided the deal. “Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it – believe me.”

His comments came a day after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that the US would pay a “high cost” if Trump scrapped the agreement.

Vowing to stop “radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump warned strong action against countries that support or finance organisations like the Taliban.

“It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries who support and finance terror groups like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Taliban and the others that slaughter innocent people,” he said.

But he stopped short of naming countries other than Iran unlike in the last month’s speech outlining the Afghan strategy when he named Pakistan saying it had much to lose by harbouring terrorists.

Here on Tuesday he focused on terrorism in the Middle East, while also warning about the Taliban. He said that the US and its allies were working throughout the region “to crush loser terrorists” and “stop the emergence of safe havens” for terror groups.

But he referred to the new Afghanistan strategy, saying: “I have also totally changed the rules of engagement against the Taliban and other terrorist groups.”

“From now our security interests will dictate the length and scope of our military action” in Afghanistan he said, and “not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables”.

Accentuating his warning on terrorism, Trump said: “Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terrorists but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.”

“Authority and authoritarian powers seek to collapse the values, the systems and alliances that prevented conflict and tilted the world toward freedom since World War II,” he added.

Challenging the world leaders listening to his speech, he declared: “We meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril. It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair.”

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