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North Korea nuclear crisis

Trump issues more cryptic threats to North Korea – in tweets

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called UN sanctions against Pyongyang “cooked up” by the US “to completely stifle” his country’s right to existence and development

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 October, 2017, 9:33am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 October, 2017, 9:26pm

US President Donald Trump has again hinted at military action against North Korea, keeping alive tensions with the isolated nation and distancing himself further from his top aides who favour diplomacy.

“Only one thing will work” in dealing with nuclear-armed North Korea, the president wrote on Sunday morning Hong Kong time in a Twitter post, without clarifying what he meant.

“Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid,” he said.

It was not clear what money he meant.

That approach, he wrote in a follow-up post, “hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of US negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!”

Later, when leaving the White House to travel to North Carolina for a fundraiser, Trump was asked by reporters to explain his comment. “Well, you’ll figure that out pretty soon,” he said.

The remarks came two days after Trump cryptically said during a dinner with American military leaders that observers were witnessing “the calm before the storm”. He refused to clarify the comment, adding only that “you’ll find out”. On Saturday, Trump said there was “nothing to clarify”.

North Korean officials have previously called some of Trump’s comments and tweets declarations of war.

It was the second consecutive weekend in which Trump has taken to Twitter with belligerent messages that contradict his top military and diplomatic advisers, who have advocated a more cautious approach.

North Korea has conducted half a dozen nuclear tests and Kim has threatened US allies like Japan as well as US territory.

Kim spoke at length on the “complicated international situation” during a North Korean Central Committee meeting on Saturday, according to an official release from Pyongyang. He contended that United Nations economic sanctions had been “cooked up” by the US as part of “last-ditch efforts to completely stifle” North Korea’s right to existence and development.

Nuclear weapons are a “powerful deterrent firmly safeguarding the peace and security in the Korean peninsula,” Kim said, according to the release.

Kim pledged to continue the country’s policy of simultaneously developing the economy and nuclear weapons.

At Saturday’s meeting, Kim said the current situation has proved that the party was “absolutely right” to uphold the simultaneous development policy and that it should “invariably keep to this road in the future”.

He was quoted as saying that North Korea’s nuclear arms are “a precious fruition borne by its people’s bloody struggle for defending the destiny and sovereignty of the country from the protracted nuclear threats of the US imperialists”.

Kim’s younger sister Kim Yo-jong, who often accompanies him on official duties, was promoted to become an alternate member of the committee’s Political Bureau, in another sign that she is gaining a stronger foothold in the country’s opaque power structure.

The sister, a vice director of the party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department who is believed to be about 30 years old, was elected to the Central Committee only in May last year when the party held its first congress in 36 years.

The plenary meeting was held a day before the 20th anniversary of his father Kim Jong-il election as general secretary of the party.

North Korea will also mark the 72nd anniversary of the ruling party’s founding on Tuesday, and there has been speculation abroad that it may conduct another major weapons test on or around that day.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg, Kyodo, The Washington Post