NBC Fears Travel Ban Will ‘Further Escalate’ North Korea Tensions

On Monday’s NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer worried that President Trump’s new travel restrictions against North Korea “are only serving to further escalate tensions between the U.S. and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.” Correspondent Bill Neely warned: “No letup in the war of words....A show of force, more goading by the President, and a travel ban. It is crisis deepening by the day.”

Noting American bombers conducting fly-overs of North Korean airspace over the weekend, Neely touted: “North Korea’s foreign minister warned at the U.N. that it’s ready for war if the U.S. shows any sign of attacking. ‘It’s inevitable we’ll target the U.S. with rockets,’ he said, calling Mr. Trump, ‘President Evil.’”

 

 

“In response, the President tweeted a threat of his own,” Neely continued, “Saying he just heard the foreign minister, ‘If he echoes thoughts of little rocket man, they won’t be around much longer!’” The reporter fretted over Trump’s nickname for the North Korea dictator: “The President doubling down on that insulting name for Kim Jong-un, which the L.A. Times says senior advisers urged him not to use in his U.N. speech.”

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Hyping the “new travel ban on North Koreans,” Neely admitted that it was “a largely symbolic move, as hardly any come to the U.S.” However, he then declared that it was “a message to Pyongyang, where tens of thousands protested the U.S., insisting new American sanctions wouldn’t affect North Korea’s resolve to build nuclear weapons.” There was no mention of such protests being orchestrated by the brutal regime.

In August, Neely told viewers that South Koreans were fearing “fiery rhetoric” in the crisis, not just from the north, but also from Trump.

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Here is a full transcript of the September 25 report:

7:09 AM ET

MATT LAUER: Those new travel restrictions that Kristen [Welker] just talked about are only serving to further escalate tensions between the U.S. and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. NBC Chief Global Correspondent Bill Neely with that part of the story now. Bill, good morning.

BILL NEELY: Good morning, Matt. No letup in the war of words. And now, U.S. warplanes have flown a mission close to North Korea they haven’t attempted in two decades. A show of force, more goading by the President, and a travel ban. It is crisis deepening by the day.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: U.S. Military Show of Force; New Mission Near North Korea Mainland]

For the first time this century, U.S. warplanes flew beyond North Korea’s border. B-1 bombers, which normally stay south of the demilitarized zone, seen here over the weekend flying over waters close to the mainland. That show of force follows threats Friday from North Korea to explode a nuclear weapon in a test over the Pacific. As the American bombers flew, North Korea’s foreign minister warned at the U.N. that it’s ready for war if the U.S. shows any sign of attacking. “It’s inevitable we’ll target the U.S. with rockets,” he said, calling Mr. Trump, “President Evil.”

In response, the President tweeted a threat of his own. He released a statement of his own. Saying he just heard the foreign minister, “If he echoes thoughts of little rocket man,” he said, “they won’t be around much longer!” The President doubling down on that insulting name for Kim Jong-un, which the L.A. Times says senior advisers urged him not to use in his U.N. speech.

DONALD TRUMP: Rocket man is on a suicide mission.  

NEELY: Fearing it could backfire. Overnight, President Trump ordered a new travel ban on North Koreans. A largely symbolic move, as hardly any come to the U.S. But a message to Pyongyang, where tens of thousands protested the U.S., insisting new American sanctions wouldn’t affect North Korea’s resolve to build nuclear weapons. And in the last hour, the U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has said North Korea’s threat to detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific would be a shocking display of irresponsibility. Something the U.S. and the world regard as a real step-change in this crisis. Matt, Savannah?

LAUER: Bill Neely. Bill, thanks.

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