Chilling line Donald Trump skipped in SOTU speech

Saul Bowman
February 7, 2019

In his second State of the Union address on Tuesday (February 5), Donald Trump told listeners that the United States would be in a major war with North Korea if he wasn't elected.

"North Korea relationship is best it has ever been with USA", he tweeted.

US intelligence chiefs believe there is little likelihood Kim will voluntarily give up his nuclear weapons or missiles capable of carrying them.

In the USA view, North Korea has yet to take concrete steps to give up its nuclear weapons. He, however, said that much work remains to be done in an effort to dismantle North Korean nuclear and missile programmes.

North Korea has since then refrained from overtly provocative actions like testing nuclear warheads or ballistic missiles.

Since last year's Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, North Korea has returned three U.S. hostages, the remains of USA troops killed during the Korean war, and destroyed a missile testing site which experts suspect had been damaged to the point of no longer being operational. "Still, the level of provocation from North Korea had been constantly elevating with nuclear tests and missile launches until a year ago".

Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul called the president's rhetoric about preventing a war "somewhat exaggerated", but acknowledged Trump's role in the detente with North Korea.

"My relationship with Kim Jong-un is a good one...."

On Monday, Iraqi President Barham Salih told a forum in Baghdad that Trump did not ask Iraq's permission for U.S. troops stationed there to "watch Iran".

Trump, in a speech focused primarily on domestic priorities including his tough line on immigration, cast himself as a realist in the world, saying he is pursuing "a foreign policy that puts America's interests first". Afghan President Ashraf Ghani tweeted ahead of Trump's speech that he had spoken to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who "underscored the central importance of ensuring the centrality of the Afghan government in the peace process".

The president pronounced after the meeting that North Korea was 'no longer a nuclear threat, ' but that is not a statement his diplomats have made. Biegun was in Pyongyang on Tuesday. One of the world's poorest countries just 30 years ago, Vietnam has transformed into a booming middle-income economy. It is a single-party communist state that boasts of tight political control and a tough security apparatus similar to Singapore's.

Vietnam and the USA used to "point a gun and knife at each other", Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for South Korea's Blue House, said while commending the choice of host nation Wednesday, according to Reuters.

"Vietnam and the United States used to point guns and knives at each other, but have now become friends", presidential spokesman Kim Eui-keum told a news conference.

On a related issue, the State Department said this week that the USA and South Korea have reached a tentative agreement on sharing the costs of keeping 28,500 American troops in South Korea, but no final deal has been signed to replace the existing agreement, which expired at the end of 2018.

Trump has largely downplayed such reports.

Here are four reasons Vietnam is a logical choice for the next round of talks between Trump and Kim. North Korea has claimed that the presence of American troops in the South is proof that the USA has hostile intentions in the region.

Trump took heat for his previous summit with Kim in Singapore, where their historic June meeting resulted in a general statement about denuclearization.

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