President Trump on Tuesday said North Korea “is looking for trouble” and vowed to get the murderous regime of dictator Kim Jong-Un under control with or without China’s help.
Trump sent the warning in a pair of tweets just days after he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. China traditionally has acted as a counterweight on North Korea, helping to moderate some actions of the isolated country. Trump indicated a favorable trade deal could await China if they stepped up pressure on North Korea; however, Trump also appeared ready to reign in the provocative nation on his own.
“I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!” Trump tweeted.
He added: “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”
The tweets echo Trump’s comments to The Financial Times earlier this month, in which he spoke cryptically but forcefully about North Korea.
“China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t,” Trump said. “And if they do, that will be very good for China. And if they don’t, it won’t be good for anyone. If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.”
North Korea has drawn U.S. ire recently following a series of ballistic missile tests. There is also fear the country’s nuclear program is progressing.
Pyongyang said Monday it would “hold the U.S. wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences” after the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its battle group was sent to waters off the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. and South Korea are engaging in war games in the region, which North Korea is suspicious of, viewing the exercise as a practice for a hypothetical invasion of North Korea.
Trump's decision to bomb a Syrian airbase last week in response to the war-torn country's chemical weapon attack on a rebel-held area also may have strengthened the perception that Trump could consider a military solution to the North Korea issue. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seemingly did nothing to downplay that possibility in recent, somewhat ambiguous comments.
“President Trump is willing to act when governments and actors cross the line,” Tillerson said.
Adding to tensions, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that activity appeared to be taking place at a North Korean nuclear test site ahead of the April 15 anniversary of the communist country's founding.