NK brands Trump ‘warmonger’

PYONGYANG

United States (US) President Donald Trump was in Hanoi on Saturday, as North Korea slammed his “warmonger” Asia tour, saying it will only accelerate Pyongyang’s push for a full-fledged nuclear deterrent.
Trump has repeatedly railed against the North as he urges the region to take a united front against the threat posed by the isolated nation, which has sparked global alarm with nuclear and missile tests in recent months.
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 retort Saturday branding 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 visit by a North Korean official.
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 US mainland.
North Korea has dominated Trump’s trip, which has so far swept in Japan, South Korea, China and Vietnam. In a speech to the South Korean parliament on Wednesday, 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.
The North on Saturday 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.Instead the threat “pushes us to speed up the efforts to accomplish the great cause of completing the state nuclear force”, the statement said, dismissing Trump’s tour of the region as a “business trip”.
Trump will attend a state banquet on Saturday before a welcoming and deal-signing ceremony on Sunday morning. He leaves for the Philippines on Sunday afternoon where he will attend the ASEAN summit of Southeast Asian leaders.—AFP

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