North Korea denounces Trump's Asia tour as a 'warmonger's visit'

North Korea denounces Trump's Asia tour as a 'warmonger's visit'

US President Donald Trump on Friday said the Asia-Pacific region was being held hostage by the "twisted fantasies" of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, as he called on countries to stand united against Pyongyang.

Trump is in Vietnam as part of a almost two-week tour of Asia, and North Korea's nuclear weapons program has been a major talking point with his Japanese, South Korean and Chinese counterparts.

The statement, which called the country's nuclear program "righteous and inevitable", continued: "He boasted about the "overwhelming superiority of US power" and 'peace through strength.' But he needs to be well advised that it is the stand of the DPRK to defend our sovereignty and rights to existence and development by keeping a real balance of force with the U.S".

Trump issued a stern message to North Korea that Washington "will not be intimidated" as he wrapped up a visit to South Korea with a speech to the National Assembly in Seoul.

Trump returned to tough talk against North Korea a day after he appeared to dial back some of his bellicose rhetoric and instead took more of a carrot-and-stick approach. As my colleague David Graham has noted, Trump-who during the campaign suggested USA troops should leave the peninsula because the South Koreans "do not pay us what they should be paying us", also lavishly reaffirmed his commitment to South Korea's defense.

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

On Thursday, Trump was in Beijing meeting President Xi Jinping, where he called on China to "act fast" over North Korea. That month it also test-launched a missile over Japan, sparking concern worldwide.

Tensions over North Korea'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 U.S. mainland.

Stiles is a special correspondent.

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