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Trump won’t let China ‘do nothing’ on N. Korea

WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump warned Saturday that he would not allow China to “do nothing” on North Korea, after the hermit state launched an intercontinental ballistic missile it boasted could reach the United States.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un boasted of his country’s ability to strike any target in the US after the ICBM test that weapons experts said could even bring New York into range – in a major challenge to Trump.

Under Kim’s leadership, North Korea has accelerated its drive towards a credible nuclear strike capability, in defiance of international condemnation and multiple sets of UN sanctions.

In his critique of Beijing, which came in two tweets, Trump linked trade strains with the Asian giant – marked by a trade deficit of $309 billion last year – to policy on North Korea, after South Korea indicated it was speeding the deployment of a US missile defense system that has infuriated China.

“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk,” Trump wrote.

“We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”

Trump, who is at loggerheads with Beijing over how to handle Kim’s regime, has repeatedly urged China to rein in its recalcitrant neighbor, but Beijing insists dialogue is the only practical way forward.

The tweet storm coincided with a bilateral mission led by US strategic bombers on Saturday that flew over the Korean Peninsula in a pointed show of force in response to the latest ICBM tests.

US B-1B bombers along with fighter jets from the South Korean and Japanese air forces participated in the 10-hour bilateral mission, practicing intercept and formation drills.

“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” said Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander, in a statement.

“If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing.”

Kim said the test “is meant to send a grave warning to the US” and demonstrated the North’s ability to launch “at any place and time,” the official Korean Central News Agency said.

The “leader said proudly the test also confirmed all the US mainland is within our striking range,” it said.

Trump denounced the launch as “reckless and dangerous” and rejected Pyongyang’s claims that such tests helped ensure its security.

He vowed to take “all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”

Weapons experts said the altitude and flight time of Friday’s missile suggested it was significantly more powerful than the earlier July 4 test, with a theoretical range of around 10,000 kilometers, meaning it might be able to reach east coast US cities like New York, depending on the payload size. (AFP)

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