11/08/2017, 11.59

From Seoul, Trump warns Kim Jong-un: 'Do not underestimate us'

Yes to dialogue if Pyongyang agrees to start a "complete, verifiable and total denuclearization". North Korea "a hell no one deserves". Expert: Trump's threats legitimize Kim Jong-un's policy. The United States has "few options".

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - "Do not underestimate us. Do not challenge us." This was the warning that US President Donald Trump issued today to North Korea, speaking to the lawmakers of South Korea. "Peace through Force" is possible, but Pyongyang must give up the development of ballistic missiles and launch a "complete, verifiable and total denuclearization".

Trump directly addressed to Kim Jong-un, alerting him that "the weapons you are acquiring will not make you safer", while opening up to dialogue on the condition of renunciation of nuclear power: "To the detriment of the crimes you committed ... we offer you a way for a better future. " The American president also referred to the founder of the country, Kim's grandfather, Kim Il-sung: "North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather had imagined. It's a hell no one deserves."

Trump also appealed to the international community, in particular Russia and China, to unite against the nuclear threat of Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, the North Korean daily condemns Trump's visit, calling it a move that exacerbates tensions in the peninsula, and reiterates the country's intention to continue the nuclear program. The North Korean state media have yet to officially respond to these latest declarations.

According to Cheong Seong-chang, North Korean expert at Seoul’s Sejong Institute, Trump's threats only "legitimize" Kim Jong-un's nuclear weapons policy. The political scientist, interviewed by Le Monde, argues that the United States has "few options": military intervention would have trouble destroying North Korea's arsenal, hidden in tunnels and underground installations, and killing Kim Jong-un would have uncontrollable consequences, as happened in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. "The surviving military leaders could attack South Korea," says Cheong. The only power that can exert pressure is China, which has so far opposed the total embargo on crude oil, on which the North Korean army depends.

Yesterday, South Korea agreed to increase the purchase of weapons as a "deterrent" to Northern provocations. North Korea and trade remain at the heart of Trump's 12-day trip to Asia, which will now take him to China, and later to Vietnam and the Philippines.

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