Trump says US will solve N Korea problem with or without China

US President Donald Trump has stepped up his rhetoric against North Korea, accusing the country of “looking for trouble.” North Korea warned of a nuclear attack on the US at any sign of aggression.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

​Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula with talk of military action by the United States gaining traction following its strikes last week against Syria and amid concerns the reclusive North may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test.

The United States is ready to solve the North Korean "problem" without China if necessary, US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday.

The US Navy's USS Carl Vinson strike group was steaming towards the region in a show of force as Washington signalled it may act to shut down Pyongyang's nuclear capabilities.

"North Korea is looking for trouble," Trump wrote on Twitter. "If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A."

North Korean state media warned of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of US aggression.

"Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the US invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theatre but also in the US mainland," the Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.

Pyongyang called the deployment of US warships to the Korean peninsula a “reckless act of aggression” and warned of "catastrophic consequences."

"This goes to prove that the US reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase," a spokesperson for the North's foreign ministry said according to state news agency KCNA. "The DPRK is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US."

"We will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms," the foreign ministry spokesman added.

"We will hold the US wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions."

TRT World spoke to journalist Joseph Kim in Seoul with the latest on US-North Korea tensions.

Military drill

Currently, South Korea and the US are also conducting joint military drills, an annual exercise which is seen by the North as a preparation for invasion.

Brigadier General Michael Russell, the Assistant Chief of Staff for the US Forces Korea, described the exercise as an example of Washington’s "ability to flawlessly execute expeditionary logistics capabilities that can be employed worldwide.”

“These combined capabilities are essential for our alliance to ensure stability and for the security of the Republic of Korea," Russell added.

South Korea's top nuclear envoy said on Monday after talks with his Chinese counterpart that the two nations had agreed to "strong" new measures to punish Pyongyang if it carried out another nuclear test.

The talks came shortly after Trump hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping for a summit at which he pressed Beijing to do more to curb the North's nuclear ambitions.

"(We) are prepared to chart our own course if this is something China is just unable to coordinate with us," US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said after the summit.

TRTWorld and agencies