North Korea Rules Out Talks as Trump Starts Asia Tour

North Korea Rules Out Talks as Trump Starts Asia TourNorth Korea Rules Out Talks as Trump Starts Asia Tour

North Korea ruled out talks and threatened to increase its nuclear arsenal in a fresh warning to Donald Trump’s administration Saturday as the beleaguered US president set off on a tour of Asia.

Trump departed for his first presidential trip to Asia Friday, with tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats looming large. He is due to arrive in South Korea Tuesday, after first visiting Japan, AFP reported.

The North’s state-run KCNA news agency said in a commentary that the US should be disabused of the “absurd idea” that Pyongyang would succumb to international sanctions and give up its nuclear weapons, adding that it is in “the final stage for completing nuclear deterrence”.

“It had better stop daydreaming of denuclearization talks with us”, said the commentary titled “Stop dreaming a daydream”.

“Our self-defensive nuclear treasure sword will be sharpened evermore unless the US hostile policy toward the DPRK is abolished once and for all”, it said, using an acronym for the official name of North Korea. The White House said Trump will deliver a speech at South Korea’s National Assembly and urge “common resolve in the face of shared threat”. But there is widespread concern in South Korea that the US president’s visit might worsen the situation if Trump fails to rein in his fierce rhetoric.

Trump and the North’s leader Kim Jong-Un have traded insults and threats of war in recent months.

  Unsure if Tillerson Will Remain

Meanwhile, In an interview on Fox News late Thursday, Trump said he was unsure whether his top diplomat, Rex Tillerson, would remain in his post for the rest of Trump’s term in the White House and was “not happy” that some State Department staff were not supporting his agenda. He attacked Tillerson’s State Department, which is at odds with the White House over global issues including rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program, and said he alone determines US foreign policy, Reuters reported.

“The one that matters is me,” Trump said. “I‘m the only one that matters because, when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be.” Asked if he planned to keep Tillerson on board for the rest of his term, Trump told Fox, “Well, we’ll see. I don’t know.”

Trump’s comments drew criticism in Congress, where many fellow Republicans have joined Democrats in objecting to Trump’s plan to slash spending on diplomacy and foreign aid, and his failure to fill key foreign policy jobs.

“One would hope that if he’s the only one that matters that he at least gets some feedback from top staff who perhaps can know a little bit more about some of these things than he does,” Representative Eliot Engel, top Democrat on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, told Reuters.

Tensions between Trump, a real estate developer and reality television star in office since January, and Tillerson, former chief executive at Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), resurfaced last month amid reports Tillerson had called Trump a “moron” and considered resigning.


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