Trump calls N. Korea leadership 'depraved,' warns of nuclear missile threat

Reuters

Posted at Jan 31 2018 12:02 PM

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. Reuters

WASHINGTON - Branding North Korea’s leadership “depraved,” President Donald Trump told Americans on Tuesday that Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear missiles could “very soon threaten our homeland” and vowed a continued campaign of maximum pressure to keep that from happening.

In his first State of the Union speech to the U.S. Congress, Trump’s tough rhetoric underscored persistent tensions despite recent talks between North and South Korea that led to Pyongyang’s agreement to participate in next month’s Winter Olympic games hosted by Seoul.

“North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland,” Trump said. “We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from ever happening.”

“We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and to our allies,” he said. 

North Korea tested intercontinental ballistic missiles and conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September in defiance of international warnings and sanctions, raising fears of a new conflict on the Korean peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier said the United States would never be able to start a war against North Korea now that his country has developed the capability to hit all of the US mainland with its nuclear weapons. (Reporting By Matt Spetalnick and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Alistair Bell)