President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on Russia and China to do more to confront North Korea, while also offering the hermit nation a "brighter path” if it abandoned its nuclear weapons program.
In a speech to the South Korean National Assembly, Trump mixed stark, harshly worded threats — "do not try us,” the president said at one point — with guarded entreaties as he presented an an alternative to a nuclear-armed North Korea: "The nuclear nightmare replaced with the beautiful promise of peace.”
To do that, Trump demanded "complete, verifiable and total denuclearization” and an end to serial missile tests from North Korea.
Until then, Trump said, the U.S. would stand "strong and alert.” He called on Moscow, Beijing and others to do more to ensure that North Korea is kept in check.
"It is our responsibility to confront this danger together,” Trump said. "Because the longer we wait, the greater the danger grows.”
He added an implicit warning to China and Russia: "To those nations that choose to ignore this threat or, worse still, to enable it, the weight of this crisis is on your conscience.”
Trump sought to distinguish North Korea from the rest of the world.
"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 said.
He promised to defend "our common security,” prosperity and freedom, and said the United States wouldn’t tolerate North Korea’s threats and missile tests.
"We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction,” Trump said. "We will not be intimidated.”
Trump contrasted North Korean belligerence with the prosperity of South Korea. He paid tribute to the relationship between Seoul and Washington, an alliance that he said was "forged in the crucible of war and strengthened by the trials of history.”
He said that South Korea’s growth, the "Korean miracle,” offered the most powerful counterexample to the North’s government in Pyongyang.