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Trump says N. Korea's development of nuclear weapon capable of reaching U.S. 'won't happen'

All Headlines 10:46 January 03, 2017

By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said Monday North Korea wouldn't be able to develop a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the U.S. and criticized China for not helping resolve the problem.

Trump tweeted the remark on Twitter, a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in his New Year's address that the communist nation has reached the final stage of preparations to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile.

It was seen as a veiled threat that it's about to develop a nuclear missile capable of reaching the U.S.

"North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!" Trump said.

It was believed to be the first time Trump has made a direct mention of the North since the election.

About an hour later, Trump issued another tweet criticizing China.

"China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea. Nice!" he said.

The message suggests Trump intends to significantly increase pressure on Beijing to use more of its influence over Pyongyang as the main energy and food provider for the impoverished nation under heavy international sanctions.

Trump says N. Korea's development of nuclear weapon capable of reaching U.S. 'won't happen' - 1

Last month, Trump strongly criticized China for "not helping us at all with North Korea" when "China could solve that problem." He even questioned why the U.S. should stick to the policy of recognizing only China, not Taiwan, when Beijing is uncooperative over the North.

Most American experts agree that North Korea will be one of the biggest problems facing the Trump administration as the communist nation stepped up its development of a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the continental U.S.

Outgoing President Barack Obama also reportedly warned Trump of the dangers the North poses to the U.S. when the two met at the White House last month. Reuters has reported that the first intelligence briefing Trump asked for since the election was about North Korea.

During the election campaign, Trump said he would pressure China to rein in the North. But he also expressed a willingness to hold direct talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over "hamburgers," a remark seen as aimed at underscoring that he is a great negotiator.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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