President Donald Trump isn’t done with North Korea — not at all.
Just days after Trump gave North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un the insulting nickname “Rocket man”, the president had a new insult lined up.
Trump signed an executive order Thursday aiming to tighten an economic noose around North Korea, and the goal is clear.
We’ll either destroy the Korean economy if they won’t give up their nukes — or “totally destroy” the entire country if forced to defend the United States or its allies.
The new order enables the U.S. to sanction individual companies and institutions that finance trade with North Korea, meaning they stretch worldwide. It adds to U.S.-led international pressure against Kim Jong Un’s expanded missile and nuclear testing program that has stoked fears of nuclear war and dominated the president’s debut at this week’s U.N. General Assembly.
The announcement came as Trump met in New York with leaders from close U.S. allies South Korea and Japan, the nations most imperiled by North Korea’s threats.
Trump said the order would also disrupt other trade avenues for North Korea in an effort to halt its nuclear weapons program. The president said “tolerance for this disgraceful practice must end now.”
He also saluted China’s central bank for what he said was a move to stop its banks from trading with North Korea. That development was first reported by Reuters Thursday. China is North Korea’s main trading partner and conduit for international transactions. Washington has been pushing China to scale back economic and financial ties to further isolate Pyongyang.
Trump, in his Tuesday address to the U.N., said it was “far past time” for the world to confront Kim, declaring that the North Korean leader’s pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a threat to “the entire world with an unthinkable loss of human life.”
“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime,” Trump said, mocking the North Korean leader even as he sketched out potentially cataclysmic consequences. The president spoke of his own nation’s “patience,” but said that if “forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News Channel on Thursday: “We do not desire a military conflict. But the president has made it very clear, as he did at the U.N. this week, that all options are on the table and we are simply not going to tolerate a rogue regime in Pyongyang obtaining usable nuclear weapons that could be mounted on a ballistic missile and threaten the people of the United States or our allies.”
The president was meeting with and having lunch Thursday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, seeking to show a common front in facing the North Korean threat despite marked differences in outlook.
Speaking at the U.N. Thursday, Moon urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and seek dialogue. He said the standoff needed to be “managed stably.”
Still, when he sat down later with Trump, he complimented the president’s “very strong” U.N. address, saying it would “help to change North Korea.”
Trump’s bold language was rare for a U.S. president appearing before the United Nations, but the speech was textbook Trump, clearly defining who are friends and who are foes — and taking unflinching aim at America’s enemies.
The Associated Press contributed to this article