World

NATO Secretary General: Trump Has Used ‘Strong Language Before’

NEW YORK — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reminded reporters Tuesday that remarks made by Donald Trump about North Korea were not necessarily surprising.

Trump told foreign leaders at the UN General Assembly, “If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph.”

“Rocket man is on a suicide mission,” Trump said, referring to a nickname for Kim Jung-un.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said.

Stoltenberg did not appear to be taken aback by Trump’s statements, saying that the U.S. president has been known for using such bold language regarding the North Korean regime and its missile program.

“We have seen the president use strong language before especially when it comes to the development of nuclear weapons and long range missiles in North Korea,” Stoltenberg told reporters after Trump’s speech to the United Nations earlier in the day.

“I welcome the unity in the international community of the importance of making sure that North Korea abandon its nuclear and missile programs and that North Korea North refrain from testing more weapons, because the nuclear missile program of North Korea is a global threat,” he said.

Stoltenberg later added, “We have to try to find some room between doing nothing and just watching North Korea developing new weapons and using military force and that route is diplomatic, economic political efforts supported by very strong economic sanctions.”

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, however, called for greater “international cooperation” when it came to the North Korean threat.

“I’m sure it’s important to defend and to promote interests of our own people in our countries — in America, in Belgium and in Europe — certainly, but at the same time if you want to promote and to defend the future for the next generations, we need more international cooperation.”

Michel continued, “And we need to, at the same time, to develop more efficiency for international cooperation. It’s really a major difference between Donald Trump and my government of Belgium.”

Follow Kerry on Twitter