President Trump lashed out at the Chinese government in a pair of tweets Saturday evening over Beijing’s failure to slow down North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
“They do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk.” Trump posted on the social network, before vowing, “We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”
There was no immediate response from the Chinese government.
Trump posted the message hours after North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un said his country had developed an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of striking the mainland U.S. North Korea’s official propaganda outlet said the Hwasong-14 missile reached a maximum height of 2,314 miles and traveled 620 miles Friday night before accurately landing in waters off Japan.
The launch has led analysts to conclude that a wide swath of the United States, including Los Angeles and Chicago, is now in range of North Korean weapons. Observers had estimated that the North’s first ICBM on July 4 could have reached Alaska.
Following the test, the Chinese government urged Pyongyang to abide by United Nations Security Council resolutions and halt any moves that could escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Washington and its allies have watched with growing concern as Pyongyang has made significant progress toward its goal of having all of the U.S. within range of its missiles to counter what it labels as U.S. aggression. There are other hurdles, including building nuclear warheads to fit on those missiles and ensuring reliability. But many analysts have been surprised by how quickly leader Kim Jong Un has developed North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs despite several rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions that have squeezed the impoverished country’s economy.
Trump has said he will not allow North Korea to obtain an ICBM that can deliver a nuclear warhead. But this week, the Defense Intelligence Agency reportedly concluded that the North will have a reliable ICBM capable of carrying a nuclear weapon as early as next year, in an assessment that trimmed two years from the agency’s earlier estimate.
The French Foreign Ministry condemned the launch and called for “strong and additional sanctions” by the United Nations and European Union. “Only maximal diplomatic pressure might bring North Korea to the negotiating table,” the ministry said in a statement.
“This is a 4G threat: global, grave, given and growing,” France’s U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre told The Associated Press. That’s why we call for a firm and quick reaction including the adoption of strong additional sanctions by the Security Council.”
A spokesman for Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Dunford met at the Pentagon with the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Adm. Harry Harris, to discuss U.S. military options in light of North Korea’s missile test.
The spokesman, Navy Capt. Greg Hicks, said Dunford and Harris placed a phone call to Dunford’s South Korean counterpart, Gen. Lee Sun Jin. Dunford and Harris “expressed the ironclad commitment to the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance,” Hicks said, referring to the U.S. defense treaty that obliges the U.S. to defend South Korea.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.