State-run media in North Korea is referring to Trump as a “lunatic old man,” according to the Associated Press.
Trump is in China as part of his 12-day Asia trip, where he is expected to ask President Xi Jinping to do more to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
Arguing that the world cannot tolerate a “rogue regime” that threatens “nuclear devastation,” Trump called on all countries Wednesday to ratchet up economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea and demand that Kim Jong Un’s government give up nuclear weapons.
“I hope I speak not only for our countries, but for all civilized nations, when I say to the North: Do not underestimate us, and do not try us,” Trump told South Korean legislators. “We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. We will not be intimidated.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said in the past that the administration does not favor a regime change and seeks a diplomatic solution to halt the North’s weapons program.
But North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks at states like Iraq, where former dictator Saddam Hussein was overthrown by the United States, and believes that the only way for his country to ensure that his regime remains in power is through nuclear ambitions.
Developing nuclear weapons that threaten the United States is Kim’s insurance policy against being overthrown by a U.S.-led coalition, Joo Seong-ha, a defector who was imprisoned in North Korea before escaping to South Korea, told USA TODAY.
A nuclear weapons program is “the most powerful bargaining chip that North Korea has,” said Joo.
While suggesting he is willing to use military force if necessary, Trump also told reporters during a visit to Seoul that he sees “good progress” on hopes that North Korea will “make a deal” regarding their nukes; the president did not elaborate.
“North Korea is a worldwide threat that requires worldwide action,” Trump said at a news conference following meetings with South Korea President Moon Jae In.