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Politics

Trump, China trade barbs over North Korea nuclear program

Beijing responds to Twitter blast, defends efforts to restrain Pyongyang

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump took to his bully pulpit on Twitter, slamming China on Monday for failing to pressure North Korea into halting its nuclear ballistic missile program.

Trump first referred to Sunday's announcement by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that his regime is in final preparations to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile. Trump said the reclusive state is reportedly developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the U.S. "It won't happen!" he tweeted.

Minutes later, Trump criticized Beijing on Twitter: "China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea. Nice!"

China, a major backer of North Korea, is long thought to have played the regime as a diplomatic card against the U.S. and the United Nations. Trump has echoed this view repeatedly on the campaign trail, rebuking China for not cooperating. He said China could solve the North Korean problem "with one phone call."

After the election, Trump openly questioned the "one China" policy, which acknowledges that Taiwan is part of China. The president-elect also has pledged to vigorously confront Beijing's expansionist attitudes, exemplified by the maritime activities in the South China Sea.

On Tuesday, Beijing rejected Trump's suggestion that China is letting the rogue state get away with its nuclear saber-rattling. "The efforts we have made" toward resolving the North Korean issue "are clear for all to see," said Geng Shuang, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

As a candidate, Trump signaled a willingness to open dialogue with Kim. He also alluded to making Kim "disappear in one form or another."

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