WHAT possible benefit can we get from comparing them?
First, we will know what each is saying against the other and how they think.
Second, if they stumble and plunge the world into war, we will at least know how we got there.
No two countries are more unlike each other—or less equivalent in wealth and power—than the United States and North Korea. Yet in some respects, Trump and Kim Jong-un are alike in being irrational, childish, and rash.
In their recent statements, both Trump and Kim set down major declarations:
1. Trump delivered his first address to the United Nations on September 22, 2017, and stated what many consider a new US foreign policy doctrine.
2. Kim, also on September 22 (on another side of the international date line), delivered his reply to Trump; it was historically the first time a North Korean leader directly issued a statement to the world under his name.
Both events took place on the same date.
Now, do you think we should shut our eyes to what they said to each other in insults and threats?
Trump’s insult and threat
Trump’s remarks on Kim Jong-un and North Korea formed part of a 42-minute address to the UN General Assembly. The message was embodied in seven paragraphs of the address. He said:
“No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more.
We were all witness to the regime’s deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America only to die a few days later. We saw it in the assassination of the dictator’s brother using banned nerve agents in an international airport. We know it kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach in her own country to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea’s spies.
If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life.
It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict. No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles.
The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about; that’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.
It is time for North Korea to realize that denuclearization is its only acceptable future. The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea, and I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council. Thank you to all involved.”
Kim’s insult and threat
The New York Times published the full text of Kim Jong-un’s response to President Trump in its issue of September 22, 2017.
The statement read:
“The speech made by the US president in his maiden address on the UN arena in the prevailing serious circumstances, in which the situation on the Korean Peninsula has been rendered tense as never before and is inching closer to a touch-and-go state, is arousing worldwide concern.
Shaping the general idea of what he would say, I expected he would make stereotyped, prepared remarks a little different from what he used to utter in his office on the spur of the moment as he had to speak on the world’s biggest official diplomatic stage.
But, far from making remarks of any persuasive power that can be viewed to be helpful to defusing tension, he made unprecedented rude nonsense one has never heard from any of his predecessor.
A frightened dog barks louder.
I’d like to advise Trump to exercise prudence in selecting words and to be considerate of whom he speaks to when making a speech in front of the world.
The mentally deranged behavior of the US president openly expressing on the UN arena the unethical will to “totally destroy” a sovereign state, beyond the boundary of threats of regime change or overturn of social system, makes even those with normal thinking faculty think about discretion and composure….
After taking office Trump has rendered the world restless through threats and blackmail against all countries in the world. He is unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country, and he is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician.
His remarks which described the US option through straightforward expression of his will have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.
Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history that he would destroy the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], we will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hardline countermeasure in history.
Action is the best option in treating the dotard who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say.
As a man representing the DPRK and on behalf of the dignity and honor of my state and people and on my own, I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the US pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying the DPRK….
“I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire.”
US seeks contact with Pyongyang
As I wrote this column, I read that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was recently in Beijing to explore establishing communications with Pyongyang.
Tillerson said the US was looking into whether Kim Jong Un is open to talks.
The comment, made during a brief trip to China, was the first time the Trump administration acknowledged the possibility of direct communication with Pyongyang. Despite the US efforts, North Korean officials have shown no interest in talks regarding denuclearization.Play Video0:43
Tillerson’s remarks came after a day of meetings with top Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping — meetings that saw both sides strike a careful, conciliatory tone.
No equivalency in policy positions
In reproducing the Trump and Kim Jong-un statements, I mean no equivalency between the two policy positions. Equivalency would imply that they have equality in value and significance.
When North Korea on July 4 tested an intercontinental ballistic missile apparently capable of hitting the United States, it posed the latest global threat to world peace. It ignited a storm of protest from nations across the world, which soon manifested itself in the approval of new sanctions against North Korea.
The nations united in the UN Security Council to approve the sanctions by a vote of 15 to 0.
There are differences among the powers on how to defuse the North Korea crisis. The US and its allies insist that North Korea must denuclearize. Russia and China want to alter the strategic balance.
US strategists reply that if there is change in the strategic balance, we could 1) return US tactical nukes to South Korea; or 2) encourage Japan to build a nuclear deterrent of its own.
That, says Charles Krauthammer, will “get quick attention from the Chinese. They would face a radically new strategic dilemma: Is preserving North Korea worth a nuclear Japan?”