UN wonders if Trump’s threat to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea is just bluster
President Donald Trump’s threat to “totally destroy North Korea” if it moves against the US or its allies raised questions about the administration’s approach to the growing nuclear threat from Pyongyang.
While some saw the President’s phrasing as a clear message of deterrence, others said it may deepen confusion about what exactly will prompt the US to execute a preemptive military strike.
The spiraling tension between the North Korea and the US moved at least two world leaders at the UN to urge caution and greater care with language, suggesting that some see the US as part of the problem.
“When tensions rise, so does the chance of miscalculation,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who urged the DPRK to comply with UN resolutions and condemned its nuclear tests, the sixth of which took place just weeks ago.
“Fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings, we must not sleepwalk our way into war,” Guterres warned as he opened the assembly. He was echoed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who spoke after Trump.
“Our responsibility to all of our partners, including China and Russia, is through resolve to bring North Korea to the negotiation table for a political settlement to this conflict,” Macron said. “France rejects escalation.” Later, at a press conference, he underscored the point, saying: “Any military intervention must be avoided.”
Macron was speaking after Trump had taken the podium and warned that if the US “is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” He added, “the United States is ready, willing and able. But hopefully, this will not be necessary.”