U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the United States will be forced to “totally destroy” North Korea unless Pyongyang backs down from its nuclear challenge, mocking North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a “rocket man” on a suicide mission.
Loud murmurs filled the green-marbled U.N. General Assembly hall when Trump issued his sternest warning yet to North Korea, whose ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests have rattled the globe.
Unless North Korea backs down, he said, “We will have no choice than to totally destroy North Korea.”
“Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime,” he said.
North Korea’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s remarks. A junior North Korean diplomat remained in the delegation’s front-row seat for Trump’s speech, the North Korean U.N. mission said.
In his first appearance at the annual gathering of world leaders, the president used a 41-minute speech to take aim also at Iran’s nuclear ambitions and regional influence, Venezuela’s collapsing democracy and the threat of Islamist extremists.
He also criticized the Cuban government.
But his strongest words were directed at North Korea. He urged United Nations member states to work together to isolate the Kim government until it ceases its “hostile” behavior.