Friday, 24 November, 2017

Trump issues stern warning to North Korea: 'Do not try us'

Donald Trump addresses the APEC CEO summit in Vietnam but his remarks on Russian intervention in the 2016 elections have made the headlines at home. AFP  Jim Watson Trump issues stern warning to North Korea: 'Do not try us'
Sherri Watson | 12 November, 2017, 01:58

North Korea hasn't had much to say publicly about President Trump's 12-day Asia tour, including his tough criticism of the communist country during a speech to South Korea's national legislature.

In the first comments on the U.S. leader's visit by a North Korean official, a Pyongyang foreign ministry spokesman said it was a "warmonger's visit for confrontation to rid the DPRK of its self-defensive nuclear deterrence", according to the state-run KCNA news agency. As my colleague David Graham has noted, Trump-who during the campaign suggested USA troops should leave the peninsula because the South Koreans "do not pay us what they should be paying us", also lavishly reaffirmed his commitment to South Korea's defense. "Dead stop. The flourishing ends, and the prison state of North Korea sadly begins".

He was then due to fly to China, where US officials say he will press a reluctant President Xi Jinping to tighten the screws further on Pyongyang.

During his trip to Asia, Trump attempted a symbolic stare-down of Kim this week at the heavily fortified border that separates North and South Korea.

In its statement Saturday, the North Korean government renewed its description of Trump as a "dotard". But this week, standing alongside South Korea's dovish president Moon Jae In at a press conference, Trump's belittling, hardline tone disappeared.

The North's actions have also prompted global condemnation - a reaction to the dozens of ballistic missile tests in recent years, including its effort to develop an intercontinental device capable of reaching the United States mainland.

Trump's earlier threats to "totally destroy" North Korea if it threatened the United States, and the personal insults he exchanged with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after the North's most recent missile and nuclear tests, had raised fears in the region of military conflict.

The harsh words between the leaders have escalated in recent months after North Korea threatened to launch missiles toward the USA territory of Guam.