Trump delivers 2019 State of Union address
US President Donald Trump has delivered his second State of the Union address after the speech was postponed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for almost two weeks over the government shutdown.
According to Press TV, speaking in the chamber of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Trump once again pledged to build a wall along the US border with Mexico to prevent immigrants, whom he called “criminals,” from crossing into the US.
At the same time, he warned that Democratic efforts to investigate his administration would endanger the US economy.
"An economic miracle is taking place in the United States and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations."
'2nd summit with Kim due in Vietnam'
Trump also announced that his second summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un was slated for late February in Vietnam.
“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. And Chairman Kim and I will meet again on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.”
Trump held a historic meeting with Kim in Singapore in June, when the two agreed to work towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Subsequent diplomacy between the two sides has, however, made little progress in recent months, mainly because the US refuses to lift harsh sanctions on the North.
'US must end fighting wars in West Asia’
Trump defended his decision to accelerate an end to the war in Afghanistan and to pull US troops out of Syria.
“Our brave troops have now been fighting in the West Asia for almost 19 years,” Trump said. “As a candidate for president, I pledged a new approach. Great nations do not fight endless wars.”
On Afghanistan, the president said he had sped up talks with the Taliban militant group, claiming that the two sides are able to find a political solution to the crisis in the war-torn country.
“I have also accelerated our negotiations to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan. Our troops have fought with unmatched valor -- and thanks to their bravery, we are now able to pursue a political solution to this long and bloody conflict.”
He added, "We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement – but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace."
Washington and the Taliban ended six days of negotiations in Doha, Qatar last month, with Kabul saying that the US had assured Afghan officials that the focus of the talks was on finding a way to facilitate peace and ensure foreign troop withdrawal, rather than the establishment of a government.
Up until now, the Taliban have repeatedly rejected the Afghan government’s offer of talks, preferring instead to negotiate directly with the American side.
Despite the presence of US-led forces in Afghanistan 17 years after their invasion to drive the Taliban from power, the militant group controls nearly half of the country.