- REUTERS/Brian C. Frank
- Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina gave a sharp warning to North Korea in light of the regime’s invitation for US President Donald Trump to meet Kim Jong-un.
- Graham warned that Trump “will use military force if he has to.”
- If Trump follows through on the invite, it would be the first time a sitting US president will have met a North Korean leader.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina gave a stunning statement on Thursday night, following President Donald Trump’s acceptance of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s invitation to meet.
“After numerous discussions with President Trump, I firmly believe his strong stand against North Korea and its nuclear aggression gives us the best hope in decades to resolve this threat peacefully,” Graham said in his statement.
But Graham quickly tempered his optimism with a stern warning to the regime.
“I am not naive. I understand that if the past is an indication of the future, North Korea will be all talk and no action,” Graham wrote, referring to North Korea’s history of derailing international efforts to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.
“However, I do believe that North Korea now believes President Trump will use military force if he has to,” Graham said.
He continued: “A word of warning to North Korean President Kim Jong Un – the worst possible thing you can do is meet with President Trump in person and try to play him,” Graham continued. “If you do that, it will be the end of you – and your regime.”
Graham has been one of the more vocal critics of North Korea in Congress. In December, he proposed family members of US service members stationed in South Korea ought to leave after months of increasing aggression from the North.
If Trump follows through on the invitation, it would mark the first time a sitting US president would meet with a North Korean leader. The time and place have yet to be determined, White House officials said. South Korean authorities said Trump would meet Kim no later than May.
“Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze,” Trump said in a tweet after the announcement. “Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!”