President Donald Trump addressed the rising tensions between America and North Korea during a speech to the United Nations in New York on Tuesday. Trump highlighted the “rogue regimes” of Iran and Venezuela while stressing his usual stance of “America First.”
Since the start of 2017, North Korea has fired 22 missiles with two missile tests on August 29 and September 15, soaring over Japan, a key U.S. ally in the region. According to Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, should North Korea continue to develop at its current pace, they would be able to fire a missile that could reach Seattle in less than three years. In response to the recent missile tests, Trump threatened the communist regime saying that he may be forced to “totally destroy” the rogue nation. He labeled the regime’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, a “rocket man,” who “is on a suicide mission and for his regime.”
Trump denounced nations with close ties to North Korea, exclaiming it was an outrage that “some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply and financially support” the administration. China is North Korea’s number one export destination according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), with roughly $2.34 billion worth of exports arriving in China each year. Russia also has close ties with North Korea, employing tens of thousands of laborers who help support the regime financially.
In front of the Iranian Ambassador, Gholamali Khoshroo, Trump strongly condemned the Iranian nuclear agreement and accused the country of supporting terrorism. Trump proclaimed that Iran, “masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy.” In response, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, denied that Iran would violate the arms agreement and accused the U.S. of “ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric,” which was “unfit to be heard at the United Nations.”
Venezuela, a country in turmoil, received strong words from the American president, who called the country a “socialist dictatorship.” A crippling economic crisis that led to high food prices and a lack of basic goods has shaken the South American country to its core. Since the crisis began, President Nicolas Maduro has sought to install a dictatorship by using the Supreme Court as a means to quell political opposition. Trump warned Maduro that Washington was prepared to add further sanctions and take action if the country continues on the path to “authoritarian rule.”
In response, Nicolas Maduro likened Trump’s words to the “aggression of a new Hitler of international politics.” He also accused Trump of threatening the sovereignty of Venezuela with death and returning to the period of the Cold War.
Throughout the globe, foreign ministers and presidents called Trump’s speech some of the most nationalistic rhetoric heard in the U.N. for quite some time.