In his first-ever speech to the U.N. General Assembly, President Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it continued its provocations. Alongside this call, Trump also signed an executive order this past Thursday, imposing new sanctions on the rogue nation, in an attempt to pressure Kim Jong Un to abandon his country’s nuclear ambitions.
Speaking at the United Nations before a working lunch with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and the South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump explained that his executive order significantly expands the U.S.’s ability to crack down on the individuals and the companies that work with North Korea.
Trump said that he has empowered the Treasury Department to “target any individual or entity that conducts trade in goods, services or technology” with North Korea. The order further includes measures designed to “disrupt critical North Korean shipping and trade networks.”
The South Korean President, Moon, who campaigned on the promise that he would seek a peaceful dialogue with the North Korea praised Trump’s executive order, saying, “President Trump just talked about the executive order, through which the U.S. is going to be implementing sanctions against the DPRK … That was a very major announcement made by China to take actions on the DPRK. I am very confident that such moves will contribute to complete denuclearization of DPRK.”
Japanese President, Shinzo Abe, was also hopeful that the executive order would lead to peace, noting that, “prioritizing diplomacy and emphasizing the importance of dialogue will not work with North Korea.” He described Trump’s Presidency as a new stage in the effort to deal with the North Korean regime, “We are going into the new stage of pressure from the viewpoint of exercising the stronger pressure, new pressures, I welcome the new sanction measures of the United States.”
Trump said, “North Korea’s missiles and weapons development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world, and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal rogue regime … The brutal North Korean regime does not respect its own citizens or the sovereignty of other nations. A new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to human kind.”
“I want to be clear the order targets only one country — that country is North Korea,” Trump said.
President Trump has also been able to get the Chinese to cooperate with sanctions as well. While Trump was in a meeting with international leaders, it was announced that the Chinese had told their central bank to “immediately stop doing business with North Korea.” Trump responded, saying, “I want to thank President Xi of China for the very bold move he made today. It was a somewhat unexpected move, and we appreciate it.”
These new sanctions, and the renewed cooperation of Japan, China and South Korea have many foreign policy experts hopeful that the problem of North Korean aggression may soon be solved. The U.N. General Assembly also issued a clear warning to North Korea over its nuclear ambitions as well.
It remains to be seen if China will uphold their end of the bargain.