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NUKEWARS
S. Korea calls Trump's tweet 'clear warning' to North
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Jan 3, 2017


No N. Korea missile will be capable of reaching US: Trump
Washington (AFP) Jan 3, 2017 - President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter again on Monday evening to promise North Korea would not develop a nuclear missile capable of reaching US territory.

His comments come a day after the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, appeared to try to put pressure on Trump by announcing his country is in the "final stages" of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

"North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the US," Trump tweeted. "It won't happen!"

Although Washington has repeatedly vowed that it would never accept North Korea as a nuclear state, Trump has not previously clearly stated his policy on the isolated Stalinist state.

The Republican billionaire has already upended precedent by routinely taking to Twitter since his election last month to lambast critics and issue statements -- sometimes about the most serious national security issues -- sending analysts scrambling to divine what they may mean for US policy once he takes office on January 20.

He launched a solo bid to restart the Cold War arms race last month, tweeting that the United States must "greatly strengthen and expand" its nuclear capabilities.

He has also angered China by tweeting accusations of military expansionism and currency manipulation.

But he will need Beijing, Pyongyang's closest ally, to deal with North Korea's mounting confrontation.

However, he appeared to complicate that prospect with his latest criticism on Monday evening following his vow about North Korea.

"China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the US in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea," he tweeted. "Nice!"

In a 30-minute televised New Year's speech on Sunday, Kim said Pyongyang had "soared as a nuclear power," adding that it is now a "military power of the East that cannot be touched by even the strongest enemy."

Although he did not make a specific reference to the incoming Trump administration, he called on Washington to make a "resolute decision to withdraw its anachronistic hostile North Korea policy."

Analysts are divided over how close Pyongyang is to realizing its full nuclear ambitions, especially as it has never successfully test-fired an ICBM.

However, North Korea carried out two nuclear tests and numerous missile launches last year in pursuit of its oft-stated goal -- developing a weapons system capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead.

Thae Yong-Ho, North Korea's former deputy ambassador to Britain who defected to the South in August, has said Kim was planning a "prime time" nuclear weapons push in 2017 to take advantage of leadership transitions in Washington and Seoul.

South Korea said Tuesday that US president-elect Donald Trump had sent a "clear warning" to North Korea with a tweet dismissing Pyongyang's ballistic missile claims.

"North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the US," Trump tweeted. "It won't happen!"

Trump's tweet came a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un appeared to try to pressure the incoming president by announcing his country is in the "final stages" of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Kim also said his country had significantly bolstered its nuclear arsenal last year.

Washington has repeatedly vowed that it would never accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed nation, but Trump has not previously clearly stated his policy on the isolated Stalinist state.

"President-elect Trump's message is significant since it is his first mention of North Korea's nuclear programme and can be seen as a clear warning," South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho June-Hyuck told a briefing.

Cho said the incoming US administration was clearly aware of the "gravity and urgency" of Pyongyang's nuclear threat thanks to South Korea's "active outreach".

US policy on the North would remain largely unchanged, he said.

"They are maintaining an unwavering stance on the need for sanctions on North Korea," Cho said.

Trump also blasted Beijing for not doing enough to help stop North Korea's nuclear programme.

"China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the US in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea," he tweeted. "Nice!"

Following Trump's remarks, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman again declared that Beijing would "stay committed to denuclearisation" on the peninsula.

"Efforts made by the Chinese side are obvious for all to see. We hope that relevant parties would refrain from words and deeds that will lead to the escalation of tension," Geng Shuang told reporters.

In a New Year's speech on Sunday, Kim did not make a specific reference to the incoming Trump administration. But he called on Washington to make a "resolute decision to withdraw its anachronistic hostile North Korea policy".

Analysts are divided over how close Pyongyang is to realising its full nuclear ambitions, especially as it has never successfully test-fired an ICBM.

However, it carried out two nuclear tests and numerous missile launches last year alone in pursuit of its oft-stated goal -- developing a weapons system capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead.


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Previous Report
NUKEWARS
Five questions on China-N. Korea relations
Beijing (AFP) Jan 3, 2017
US president-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly called out China for doing too little to help stop North Korea's nuclear programme, and on Monday he took to Twitter again to blast Beijing. "China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the US in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea," he tweeted. "Nice!" His comments come a day after North Korean lea ... read more


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