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Trump Sticks to Tough Talk on North Korea

Trump Sticks to Tough Talk on North Korea

Friday, 10 November, 2017 - 12:00
US President Donald Trump arrives at Danang International Airport in Danang, Vietnam, November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

US President Donald Trump continued on Friday his tough talk against Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, saying the Asia-Pacific region was being held hostage by the "twisted fantasies" of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

"The future of this region and its beautiful people must not be held hostage to a dictator's twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail," Trump said during a speech in Vietnam to the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

The region, he added, must "stand united in declaring that every single step the North Korean regime takes toward more weapons is a step it takes into greater and greater danger".

Trump has embarked on a tour of Asia this week trying to rally regional support for curbing North Korea's nuclear weapons program, warning that time is running out over the crisis.

The US administration thinks China's economic leverage over North Korea is the key to strong-arming Pyongyang into halting its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

On Thursday, Trump was in Beijing meeting President Xi Jinping, where he called on China to "act fast" over North Korea. 

Washington has also worked in recent months to convince allies across Asia to oppose Pyongyang, an issue that will remain prominent during his two-day trip to Vietnam, which is currently hosting a major regional summit.

The leaders of Japan, Russia, China and South Korea are also attending the APEC summit.

At the same time, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Washington has "two or three channels" open with North Korea and was always ready to hear what Pyongyang wants to say. 

Tillerson has consistently emphasized diplomacy in dealing with the North, while Trump has traded personal insults and threats of war with leader Kim Jong-Un. 

Meanwhile, South Korea said it will join three US aircraft carrier strike groups in a joint drill scheduled for Nov. 11 to 14.

South Korean naval vessels will participate in the drill in waters off the east coast, the South's joint chiefs of staff said in a statement.

The Pentagon said on Wednesday the drill involving three aircraft carrier strike groups in the Western Pacific would be carried out for the first time in a decade, confirming a Reuters report.

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