US president addresses South Korean parliament before heading to China
U.S. President Donald Trump has offered North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "a path to a much better future" despite past acts of aggression and human rights abuses.
Addressing lawmakers in a televised speech at South Korea's National Assembly Wednesday, Trump insisted the Kim regime must first denuclearize and halt its provocative behavior.
While that stance has been consistently held by the U.S. for years, Trump maintained his administration is "very different" and should not be tested.
“The North Korean regime has pursued its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in defiance of every assurance, agreement and commitment it has made to the United States and its allies. It’s broken all of those commitments,” Trump said.
“We seek a future of light, prosperity and peace, but we are only prepared to discuss this brighter path for North Korea if its leaders cease their threats and dismantle their nuclear program.”
"The time for excuses is over. Now is the time for strength," the American leader vowed, although he stopped short of repeating his previous threat to destroy North Korea.
Trump highlighted the need for Beijing's support in implementing sanctions against the North before his planned trip to China for the third stop of a five-nation Asian tour.
Meanwhile, Pyongyang's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper accused him in a commentary Wednesday of intending to "light the fuse for a nuclear war".
North Korea appears to have been watching and waiting, having refrained from provocations since defying the international community with nuclear and long-range missile tests in September.
Trump might have sent a message even closer to Pyongyang, but a planned surprise trip to the inter-Korean border was canceled due to poor visibility.
The trip was cancelled roughly five minutes before Trump was scheduled to arrive as fog worsened at the demilitarized zone, thwarting what would have been an historic visit to the area.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in "was waiting, holding there" for Trump, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
"It still, I think, shows the strength of the alliance and the importance of it that they were going to do this together," Sanders added.