US President Donald Trump repeatedly addressed the possibility of a nuclear attack against North Korea in a conversation with his infamous Filipino counterpart, a transcript of the phone call shows, asking Rodrigo Duterte to “pls call China!”
Obtained by The Intercept in collaboration with the Philippine news outlet Rappler, the full script of the April 29 conversation was released on Wednesday.
The US president boasted about two US nuclear submarines near North Korea, while historically the Defense Department keeps the locations of its submarines secret.
“We have a lot of firepower over there,” Trump said in the official document of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, also confirmed by other officials. “We have two submarines — the best in the world — we have two nuclear submarines — not that we want to use them at all… “I’ve never seen anything like they are but we don’t have to use this but he could be crazy so we will see what happens.”
In the conversation, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is referred to as “a mad man” or “crazy,” with Trump repeatedly speaking of a possible nuclear attack and voicing “hope” China could resolve the issue.
North Korea recently test-fired a new ballistic missile dubbed Pukguksong-2, drawing condemnation from the UN Security Council.
Last month, the US sent a naval strike group into the West Pacific near the Korean Peninsula to threaten Pyongyang.
Congratulation on Duterte’s drug war
The US president, who has previously been censured for inviting Duterte to the White House, also congratulated him for his notorious war on drugs, which has claimed thousands of lives.
“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” Trump said. “We have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call you and tell you that.”
Rights groups have criticized the bloody campaign, saying security forces or volunteers have carried out extrajudicial killings during the operations.
Manila strongly rejects the allegations while Duterte continues to defend his signature campaign.