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N. Korea Slams Trump for Trying to Halt Its Nuclear, Missile Programs

  • VOA News

FILE - North Korean soldiers march during a visit by Australian officials to the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, Oct. 12, 2017.

North Korea denounced U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday for trying to halt the North's nuclear and missile programs.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry issued its first official statement on Trump's trip to Asia, saying it "is a warmonger's trip for confrontation with our country, trying to remove our self-defensive nuclear deterrent.''

Pyongyang also accused Trump of trying to isolate it from the global community and weaken its government.

"Reckless remarks by an old lunatic like Trump will never scare us or stop our advance," the ministry said.

Much of Trump's five-nation Asia tour has focused on North Korea. Trump pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping privately on the North Korea nuclear issue, Trump administration officials said. According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump told Xi, "You're a strong man. I'm sure you can solve this for me."

Xi urged his South Korean counterpart Saturday to reopen talks with North Korea to help manage the security threat posed by North Korea, according to Reuters news agency reports citing China's state-owned news service, Xinhua.

At APEC gathering

On the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam, Xi reportedly encouraged South Korean President Moon Jae-in to re-engage with North Korea in an attempt to get the North to end its nuclear and missile programs, which violate U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The leaders of South Korea and China agreed on the need to seek a peaceful resolution to the North Korean threat, South Korea's presidential spokesman reportedly said. As a result, the spokesman said, the two countries will engage in more intensive talks on all levels.

Tensions on the peninsula heightened last month when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Trump exchanged threats over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

In addition to the U.S., South Korea has urged China to take a more assertive role in curbing North Korea's military aspirations. Beijing has maintained it is doing all it can to restrain North Korea's provocative actions.

Moon and Xi have reportedly agreed to meet in China next month for another round of summit talks. In addition, Moon invited Xi to South Korea to attend the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February, South Korea's presidential spokesman reportedly said.

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