WASHINGTON — President Trump sketched out an ominous view of America’s global role on Tuesday, emphasizing adversaries over allies, threats over opportunities, and a global to be pacified in place of multiplied.
Be it Iran or the Islamic State, Mr. Trump promised that the US could vanquish competitors and stand up for those who fight for freedom. He took credit for the military campaign against the Islamic State, which he stated had liberated “nearly a hundred percent of the territory once held by the killers in Iraq and Syria.”
Vowing to rebuild the kingdom’s nuclear arsenal, Mr. Trump stated, “perhaps at some point in the future there can be a mystical second when the international locations of the sector will get collectively to cast off their nuclear weapons.”
Fred and Cindy Warmbier, the mother and father of Otto F. Warmbier, who died after being held captive in North Korea. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times
“Unfortunately, we aren’t there yet, unluckily,” he said in his State of the Union deal with, his first.
But the president saved his longest overseas coverage passage, and strongest phrases, for North Korea, whose “reckless pursuit of nuclear guns,” he said, “may want to very quickly threaten our hometown.”
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“We are waging a campaign of maximum stress to save you that from taking place,” he said. “Past revel in has taught us that complacency and concessions handiest invite aggression and provocation. I will no longer repeat the mistakes of beyond administrations that got us into this dangerous function.”
Mr. Trump did now not, as he has before, trouble precise threats of a military strike at the North. But he mentioned an unrelenting case for what he knew as the North Korean government’s “wicked individual,” echoing a speech he introduced to the South Korean National Assembly in Seoul in November.
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The president drew at the stories of sufferers of North Korean cruelty: an American university pupil, Otto F. Warmbier, who fell into an irreversible coma whilst in detention in Pyongyang, the capital, and later died; and a North Korean man who misplaced his leg while attempting to find meals for his starving own family. He later defected.
Gesturing to Mr. Warmbier’s parents, Fred and Cindy, who watched from the traffic’ gallery within the House, their eyes moist with tears, Mr. Trump said, “You are effective witnesses to a threat that threatens our international, and your power definitely conjures up us all.”
The defector, Ji Seong-ho, changed into also inside the gallery and held up his timber crutches in triumph whilst Mr. Trump hailed him.
Hours earlier than the speech, the president’s Korea coverage was buffeted by the management’s decision to desert an extended-behind schedule plan to appoint an outstanding Korea pupil, Victor D. Cha, as its ambassador to Seoul.
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Mr. Cha, fifty-seven, had voiced opposition to the management’s chance to perform a preventive army strike in opposition to North Korea, said human beings with knowledge of the decision. He had already undergone an in-depth vetting system, and his name was submitted for approval to the South Korean government — normally an indication that the history check was complete.
Officials in Seoul had already signed off on the ambassadorship; Mr. Cha is a Republican who identifies as a hawk on North Korea. But pals said he advised Pentagon and different management officers his worries approximately ordering a pre-emptive, or preventive, navy strike on North Korea before it had the potential to fireplace a nuclear-armed missile on the United States.
Administration officers, especially the White House country wide safety adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, have raised the possibility of this sort of strike — from time to time referred to as the “bloody nostril” strategy — although they emphasize they would opt to solve the war of words with Pyongyang through diplomacy.
Mr. Cha has also publicly voiced the excessive fee to each Washington and Seoul of ripping up the Korea Free Trade Agreement, as Mr. Trump has threatened to do until the South Koreans agree to renegotiate the deal.
Victor D. Cha will not be the American ambassador to Seoul. Credit Yonhap, thru European Pressphoto Agency
The White House declined to remark Tuesday on the reasons for its decision, although a senior respectable played down coverage disagreements as for the reason. The administration had not formally submitted Mr. Cha’s call to the Senate, even after he had gone through months of vetting.
The White House had, first of all, was hoping to have a brand new ambassador in the area in time for the Winter Games, which start in 10 days in the South Korean metropolis of Pyeongchang. But because the cut-off date approached, Mr. Cha informed pals he had heard nothing from the White House or the State Department about the fame of his nomination. The Washington Post first stated that the White House turned into now not moving ahead with his nomination.
Michael J. Green, a colleague of Mr. Cha, stated the dropped ambassadorship was “discouraging in terms of what it says approximately the administration’s North Korea policy, however additionally their capacity to draw qualified humans to come back into those kinds of jobs.”
In his speech, Mr. Trump made no mention of the Winter Olympic Games. Nor did he mention a budding détente between North and South Korea, which have agreed to march their teams into the hole right under an unmarried flag and to field a unified women’s ice hockey team.
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For the president, cataloging the horrors inflicted by means of North Korea become a part of a workout that he known as “restoring readability approximately our adversaries.” He stated he had stood up for anti-government demonstrators in Iran and requested Congress to fix the flaws inside the “horrible” nuclear deal that international powers brokered with the united states in 2015.
The president also stated the United States had imposed sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela, although he made no point out of latest consequences towards Russia, which lawmakers had passed in a lopsided majority however which the administration has thus far declined to impose.
Mr. Trump stated much much less approximately America’s function in alliances like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. And he slightly stated China or Russia, international locations his very own management identified as the nation’s finest geopolitical adversaries inside the latest National Security Strategy.
While he noted his selection to understand Jerusalem because the capital of Israel, Mr. Trump stated not anything approximately his management’s effort to the dealer a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians. That effort appeared more elusive than ever, given Palestinian outrage over Jerusalem.
Rather than communicate about peace, Mr. Trump emphasized his determination to punish countries that cut up with the USA over what he called “America’s sovereign proper to make this popularity.”
“That is why, this night, I am asking Congress to skip regulation to assist ensure American foreign-assistance dollars constantly serve American pastimes, and only go to America’s buddies,” he stated.