North Korea lashed out Saturday at U.S. President Donald J. Trump‘s “warmonger’s” tour of Asia as the American leader arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, on the latest leg of a five-nation regional visit to drum up support against Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.
The outburst came as Mr. Trump nears the tail end of his sweep through Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines that has seen him rail against the North’s nuclear ambitions and deliver his “America First” vision of global trade.
Mr. Trump has urged the region to take a united front against the threat posed by isolated North Korea, which has sparked global alarm with its nuclear and missile tests in recent months.
President Xi of China has stated that he is upping the sanctions against #NoKo. Said he wants them to denuclearize. Progress is being made.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2017
On Friday he warned world leaders gathered in the Vietnamese resort city of Danang that the Asia-Pacific region “must not be held hostage to a dictator’s twisted fantasies.”
Pyongyang issued its own retort Saturday branding Mr. Trump’s Asia tour a “warmonger’s visit for confrontation to rid the DPRK of its self-defensive nuclear deterrence,” in the first comments on the trip by a North Korean official.
It said Trump’s warnings “can never frighten us or put a stop to our advance”, according to the state-run KCNA news agency, quoting a Pyongyang foreign ministry spokesman.
Tensions over the North’s weapons programme have surged in recent months, as Pyongyang carried out a sixth nuclear test – by far its largest to date – and test fired dozens of missiles, some capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
In a speech to the South Korean parliament on Wednesday, Mr. Trump warned Pyongyang not to underestimate the United States, while offering leader Kim Jong-Un a better future if he gives up his nuclear ambitions.
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017
Trump has also prodded Chinese President Xi Jinping to pile pressure on North Korea.
“I’d like to have him ratchet it up, and I think he’s doing that,” Mr. Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Hanoi Saturday following a regional trade meeting in the coastal city of Danang.
Though China has backed U.N. sanctions, Washington would like to see Beijing clamp down on unauthorised trade along the North Korean border.