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ROGER WICKER: President offers bold commitment to U.S. strength

Over the past several weeks, the rogue nation has conducted its sixth underground nuclear test and launched multiple long-range ballistic missile tests, which have flown over Japan. In his speech, President Trump forcefully laid out the stakes for North Korea’s combative leader, Kim Jong Un, saying the brutal dictator “is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

With hard-hitting rhetoric toward the world’s bad actors and an unwavering endorsement of America’s strength, President Trump’s address has been called a historic moment for the UN. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted, “In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech.” Fox News commentator John Bolton, who served as U.S. ambassador to the UN during the Bush Administration, similarly remarked, “It’s safe to say, in the entire history of the United Nations, there has never been a more straightforward criticism of the unacceptable behavior of other member states.”

I commend President Trump for his willingness to confront difficult global challenges without losing sight of the need to put the interests of the American people first. North Korea is openly hostile toward the United States, recently suggesting that the U.S. territory of Guam could be a target for a nuclear attack. In his remarks, President Trump was forthright about the U.S. military being “ready, willing and able” to act against North Korea if forced to defend our homeland or our allies. He also noted the progress made by the UN Security Council, which voted unanimously this month to strengthen economic sanctions against the Kim regime.

The $640 billion defense authorization bill that recently passed in the Senate would help ensure that the U.S. military continues to be “ready, willing and able” to counter our national security threats, including acts of aggression from adversaries like North Korea. A provision I added to the bill would help build a larger and more modern naval fleet capable of projecting force, responding swiftly, and protecting U.S. interests in the Pacific and elsewhere. Our aircraft carriers are one of the most commanding displays of U.S. military muscle, and their deployment near the Korean Peninsula remains an effective way for President Trump to send a forceful message to Pyongyang.

This year’s defense authorization bill also seeks to reinforce our missile defense capabilities with the addition of ground-based interceptors and support for the development of missile sensors in space. These interceptors, many of which would be located in Alaska, can destroy ballistic missiles before they reach their targets.

President Trump’s address to the UN reminded the world that the United States is committed to protecting its citizens from the violent pursuits of tyrannical leaders and terrorists. This mission – although fortified by our sovereignty and independence – is not a solitary one. Instead, as his remarks concluded, “We will fight together, sacrifice together, and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity, and for the almighty God who made us all.”