Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Congressman Chris Stewart talks with the Editorial Board with Gary Webster at Triad Center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
SALT LAKE CITY — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is not insane, says Utah Rep. Chris Stewart. But he poses the most pressing threat to the United States as he pushes forward with plans to develop missiles capable of reaching the U.S. with nuclear warheads.
“We just can’t ignore the reality that North Korea is a real and meaningful threat to not only U.S. security but frankly to global security and global civility,” Stewart, R-Utah, said Wednesday in response to questions by the Deseret News editorial board in Salt Lake City.
North Korea came into clear focus again this week when President Donald Trump addressed the United Nations and went all in against the nation he said he is willing to “destroy” if changes are not made.
“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said Tuesday. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary,” Trump said.
Stewart said that while he may have chosen different words to make his point, he was “grateful” the president took such a strong stance in his remarks to the U.N. general assembly.
Stewart referenced conversations he’s had with Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the Pacific Fleet, speaking of the global challenges facing America: “He said North Korea is the most dangerous situation, China is the most complicated situation that we face, and Russia is the existential threat that we face,” he said, noting Russia’s nuclear ability to destroy our current way of life.
Stewart’s expertise stems from his military background as a 14-year pilot in the Air Force, and from his current position as a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence.
He said previous diplomatic policies undertaken by prior presidential administrations have attempted to preclude North Korea from researching and developing nuclear capabilities, but those…