N. Korea blasts Trump's 'warmonger' Asia tour

SEOUL • North Korea yesterday slammed US President Donald Trump's "warmonger" Asia tour, saying it would only accelerate Pyongyang's push for a full-fledged nuclear deterrent.

In the first comments on Mr Trump's visit by a North Korean official, a Pyongyang foreign ministry spokesman said it was a "warmonger's visit for confrontation to rid" North Korea of its self-defensive nuclear deterrence, the state-run KCNA news agency reported.

In a speech to South Korea's Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Trump warned Pyongyang not to underestimate the US, while offering leader Kim Jong Un a better future if he gives up his nuclear ambitions.

But in its retort yesterday, North Korea said Mr Trump's warnings "can never frighten us or put a stop to our advance", but rather "pushes us to speed up the efforts to accomplish the great cause of completing the state nuclear force".

North Korea has dominated Mr Trump's Asia trip so far to Japan, South Korea, China and Vietnam.

He has tried to rally support to curb Pyongyang's rogue weapons programme during his trip, urging regional powers to stand united against North Korea.

In a fresh show of force, three US aircraft carriers, accompanied by South Korean warships, launched a joint naval drill yesterday.

The four-day exercise in the western Pacific involves USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt - as well as seven South Korean vessels, including three destroyers.

It is the first such US triple-carrier drill in the region for a decade.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 12, 2017, with the headline 'N. Korea blasts Trump's 'warmonger' Asia tour'. Print Edition | Subscribe