Japan and South Korea applaud Trump for brazenness in UN speech

Japan and South Korea applaud Trump for brazenness in UN speech

Japan and South Korea have today applauded US President Donald Trump's brazenness on the dilemma of a nuclear North Korea in his maiden speech to the United Nations last night.

Mr Trump spoke of a "depraved regime" and a "band of criminals", which his nation would "totally destroy" if it threatened US sovereignty in a speech that at times sounded like it more belonged at a campaign rally than the UN.

In repeating a Twitter taunt from the weekend, he again referred to the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un as "rocket man" to the packed General Assembly.

But it was Mr Trump's mention of the 1977 kidnapping of teenager Megami Yokata by North Korean agents that today made headlines in Japan, where the event remains etched into the national consciousness.

"We know [North Korea] kidnapped a sweet, 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach in her own country to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea's spies," Mr Trump said.

Professor of international relations at Tokyo Christian University, Stephen Nagy, said the inclusion of the line was a clever idea to get the Japanese people on side.

"That was something very emotional for the Japanese, that some of their citizens have been taken away to North Korea and terrible things have been done to them," Professor Nagy said.

"So the fact that President Trump acknowledged this aspect, something that the Japanese have been trying to get him to acknowledge for a long time, I think plays to the Japanese in an emotional way."

President Trump will meet the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korea's President Moon at the UN this week.

Trump speech likely to provoke North Korea

While critics have accused Mr Trump of dangerous unilateralism, Professor Nagy said the President was mindful of playing to his audience at home.

"My first impression was that this speech was playing to his base. It was full of nationalistic references," Professor Nagy said.

"He stayed true to his campaign promises at least in terms of stressing that he is going to put America first both in terms of economic relations but also foreign policy."

But although Mr Kim has not responded directly to the speech, Professor Nagy said it is still likely to have some effect in the DPRK.

"I think [the speech] is going to consolidate the Kim regime's view that the United States is interested in regime change, that it is seriously thinking about a military solution to dealing with the North," he said.

"And I think it will consolidate thinking that a nuclear deterrent strategy is the only way to preserve the regime and preserve North Korea.

"So with that, I think the consequences are quite clear and we will probably see missile testing this week. In the months to come, it will not surprise me if there is another nuclear test as well."