Superpowers wage war over nuclear threat

President-elect Donald Trump has hit out at China over North Korea’s latest nuclear threat.


DONALD Trump has sparked a fresh battle with China over nuclear threats from North Korea.

In a New Year’s address over the weekend, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un said his country was close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile, which, if successful, could wipe out parts of the United States.

The incoming US president responded with his usual method, taking to Twitter and firing out a dismissive statement.

He cast doubt on North Korea’s ability to attack the US, vowing the rogue nation will never succeed in its attempt to acquire a dangerous missile.

With less than three weeks to go before he officially enters the White House, the celebrity billionaire then launched a fresh attack on China.

Mr Trump, who on numerous occasions has accused China of “cheating” the US on international trade, criticised the country’s apparent refusal to help defend against North Korea.

Beijing did not take kindly to the comments, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stressing the country’s “proactive” participation in quelling the nuclear issue.

“China’s efforts in this regard are perfectly obvious,” Mr Shuang said in a press conference. “As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, we have proactively participated in relevant discussions on the North Korean nuclear issue and have jointly passed several resolutions with other parties.

“This shows China’s responsible attitude.”

It’s a tense time for US-Sino relations.

It’s a tense time for US-Sino relations.Source:AP

But China’s state media took a more savage approach to Mr Trump’s remarks, with the country’s nationalist newspaper The Global Times accusing him of “pandering to irresponsible attitudes” and having “selfish motives”.

“China firmly opposes North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons,” the op-ed reads. “China does not want to see a chaotic Korean Peninsula mired in war. It will not be able to prevent the outbreak of conflicts, and every stakeholder is bound to suffer. But China is surely not the biggest victim. China should try its best, but once the worst-case scenario happens, China should just adapt to the changing landscape.”

It goes on to accuse the US of being “arrogant” before issuing a warning to the incoming president, comparing him to George W Bush.

“Trump should not try to boss China around as he did with Japan and South Korea. George W. Bush meddled in Middle Eastern affairs and we have seen his foreign policy failures.

“If Trump really wants, he could try his luck in East Asia, another hotspot.”

Experts are divided over whether North Korea are actually close to test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Experts are divided over whether North Korea are actually close to test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile.Source:AP

Pyongyang has never successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile, and analysts are divided over how close it is to doing so.

According to the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations, China is North Korea’s largest trading partner and most important ally.

It’s also the isolated country’s main source of food, arms and energy supplies.

The debacle will no doubt add to concerns in Canberra that Australia is getting increasingly caught up in the middle of a rivalry between two of its largest trading partners.

While we ideally want to avoid “choosing” between the US and China, Mr Trump’s temperament since his election victory suggests this may prove difficult if tensions continue to boil.

Since winning the November election, Mr Trump has already sparked numerous controversies with China.

He’s put out several tweets accusing the country of devaluing America’s currency, among other things.

Last month, the President-elect made global headlines after he questioned the One China policy, and publicly acknowledged a phone call he had with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen — the first US president to do so since 1979.

A couple of weeks ago, he sparked controversy again after accusing Beijing of “stealing” an American research drone.

Both countries agreed that the drone would be returned, but tensions remained, with Chinese state media delivering a statement that accused the US of inappropriately dramatising the issue.

Hours later, Mr Trump tweeted that China may as well “keep” the drone that they “stole”.

China slammed the remark, and The Global Times threatened that the country “not exercise restraint” if his behaviour continued.

But judging by his latest tweet about China, Mr Trump clearly isn’t buying the threat.

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