Trump seeks unity, confirms Kim summit in State of Union address


The President of the United States on Tuesday urged lawmakers to work together during his annual State of the Union address, in which he also confirmed Vietnam as the venue for his second summit with the leader of North Korea end of February.

In the speech, delivered a week later than originally scheduled owing to the longest government shutdown in US history, Trump called for unity across political ideologies.

“Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us, gathered in this great chamber, hoping we will govern not as two parties, but as one nation,” said Trump, adding that there is a “new opportunity in American politics.”

“Victory is not winning for our party, victory is winning for our country,” added the president.

During his speech, Trump also touched on internal matters including immigration and the country’s “unprecedented economic boom.”

“In just over two years since the election, we have launched an unprecedented economic boom, a boom that has rarely been seen before,” said Trump, who called it an “economic miracle”.

However, Trump also warned that this miracle is threatened by “foolish wars”, “ridiculous partisan research” and “politics”.

Referring to the country’s trade war with China, he said that it was important to reverse decades of “calamitous trade policies” between Beijing and Washington.

“We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end,” he said.

Trump greeted the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, but did not congratulate her on her return as speaker on Jan. 3.

“And exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than ever before,” he said acknowledging the record number of women in the Congress.

He also used the occasion to announce that his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be held in Vietnam between Feb. 27 - 28 and defended his administration’s “historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

“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,” he said.

He also said that the US was open to negotiating a new nuclear agreement after the country withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, which includes Moscow and China.

“Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can’t - in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far,” he said.

He also defended the sanctions imposed on Iran and his decision to pull out of the nuclear treaty with the country, which he accused of being the “world’s leading state sponsor of terror”.

He also referred to the Afghanistan conflict and stressed that the “hour has come to at least try for peace.”

He also spoke about spiraling political crisis in Venezuela and said that the US stands with Venezuelans and their quest for peace and stability.

“Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela, and its new interim president, Juan Guaido,” he said amid loud applause.

“We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom - and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime,” said Trump.

By Laura Barros