President Donald Trump announced the dates and location of his second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during his State of the Union speech on Feb. 5.
The meetings will take place on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 in Vietnam.
During the speech in Washington, Trump said that the negotiations between the United States and the reclusive country have been good.
“As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months,” he said.
Trump said that if someone else had been elected president, the United States would likely be in war right now.
“If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea with potentially millions of people killed. Much work remains to be done but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one,” he said.
Trump also hailed a range of other foreign policy objectives that he’s been pursuing, such as supporting Juan Guaido for president of Venezuela over Nicolas Maduro.
He slammed socialism, saying it was to blame for Venezuela’s sharp decline.
“We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom—and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair,” he said.
“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence—not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free.
“Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”
Trump also said that under his administration, “we will never apologize for advancing America’s interests” and said that the United States’ recent announcement that it would suspend its obligations to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty demonstrated that mantra as Russia has “repeatedly violated its terms.”
US and Russia Suspend Obligations
The United States and Russia suspended their obligations under the INF Treaty on Feb. 2 after months of failed talks and years of attempts by Washington to bring Moscow into compliance with the landmark arms pact.
President Donald Trump announced his intent to withdraw from the treaty in October last year. Since then, Russia has failed to comply with requests to destroy its 9M729 ballistic missiles, which the United States says violate the treaty.
“The United States has fully adhered to the INF Treaty for more than 30 years but we will not remain constrained by its terms while Russia misrepresents its actions,” President Donald Trump said in a statement issued by the White House. “We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country will likewise suspend its obligations under the treaty and will start developing new missiles. Putin made the announcement on Feb. 2, the day that U.S. officials said Washington would serve Moscow and related parties with the official withdrawal notice.
“Our American partners announced that they are suspending their participation in the treaty, and we are suspending it too,” Putin said on Feb. 2, the BBC reported. “All of our proposals in this sphere, as before, remain on the table, the doors for talks are open.”
U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the INF treaty in 1978; the pact prohibited both nations from possessing both conventional and nuclear-capable short- and mid-range ground-launched missiles.
Putin’s comments came just hours after NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg told the broadcaster that all other European countries supported the United States.
“All [European] allies agree with the United States because Russia has violated the treaty for several years. They are deploying more and more of the new nuclear-capable missiles in Europe,” Stoltenberg said.
NATO said in a statement on Feb. 1 that it was backing the United States.
“Unless Russia honors its INF Treaty obligations through the verifiable destruction of all of its 9M729 systems, thereby returning to full and verifiable compliance before the U.S. withdrawal takes effect in six months, Russia will bear sole responsibility for the end of the Treaty,” the NATO declaration stated.
Epoch Times reporter Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.