U.S. President Donald Trump`s speech to the United Nations, where he warned he would “totally destroy” North Korea if threatened, reinforced the need for Pyongyang to realise it must give up its nuclear weapons, South Korea said on Wednesday.
In a hard-edged speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump mocked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a “rocket man” for his repeated ballistic missile tests.
“We view the speech as portraying a firm and specific stance on the key issues regarding keeping peace and safety that the international community and the United Nations are faced with,” the office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a statement on Wednesday.
“It clearly showed how seriously the United States government views North Korea`s nuclear programme as the President spent an unusual amount of time discussing the issue,” the presidential Blue House`s statement said.
Trump`s speech “reaffirmed that North Korea should be made to realise denuclearisation is the only way to the future through utmost sanctions and pressure”, it said.
Moon came to power in May on a platform of more engagement with North Korea. Since Pyongyang`s sixth and largest nuclear test earlier on Sept. 3, however, Moon has said the time is not right for dialogue.
He and Trump plan to meet in New York early on Wednesday U.S. time, Moon`s office said.
Trump`s most direct military threat to attack North Korea was his latest expression of concern about Pyongyang`s repeated weapons tests.
“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,” Trump told the 193-member world body. “Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime.”
U.S. ally Japan, which Pyongyang often threatens to destroy, has taken a consistently hard line on North Korea, pushing for increased sanctions and pressure.
“We greatly appreciate President Trump’s approach to changing North Korea’s policy stance, denuclearising the country and calling on the international community, including China and Russia, for their cooperation toward strengthening pressure on North Korea,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.
Suga also welcomed Trump`s reference to a Japanese girl who was kidnapped by North Korean agents in 1977.
The plight of abuctees is a key issue for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has pledged to rescue them while in office, and an emotive one for the Japanese public.
North Korea admitted in 2002 it had kidnapped 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s to train spies. Five of them returned to Japan but Tokyo suspects that hundreds more may have been taken.