Kim V Trump: President talks up military, calls China
US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has doubled down on his North Korea threat, calling the country a "menace" and talking up the US's military might, as the Chinese call for calm.
Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula on the phone Tuesday night, US time.
The US President tweeted that the call concerned "the menace of North Korea".
Mr Xi indicated that the Chinese were willing to work with the US to end the rogue state's nuclear weapons program but wanted to avoid doing so via military action.
Had a very good call last night with the President of China concerning the menace of North Korea.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2017
Mr Xi told Mr Trump on the phone that China "advocates resolving the issue through peaceful means", Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported.
"China insists on realising the denuclearisation of the peninsula ... and is willing to maintain communication and co-ordination with the American side over the issue on the peninsula," Mr Xi said.
But Mr Trump has continued his tough talk towards the isolated nation, boasting of the "very powerful" fleet of US warships and submarines now headed for the region in an interview on US television Wednesday morning.
A naval strike group - including the Nimitz-class aircraft supercarrier USS Carl Vinson, a carrier air wing, two guided-missile destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser - has been sent to the western Pacific Ocean after North Korea tested a missile last week.
"We are sending an armada. Very powerful," Mr Trump told the Fox Business Network.
"We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier."
He also that solving the standoff wasn't "as simple as people would think" because China's long history with North Korea made it more difficult for it to crack down on the rogue nation's nuclear weapons program.
There are fears that North Korea will mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, the nation's founding father, on Saturday by launching a missile or testing a nuclear device.
Mr Trump's sabre-rattling follows a pair of tweets he fired off on Tuesday, saying "North Korea is looking for trouble".
He vowed to "solve the problem" of North Korea with or without Chinese help.
"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!" he tweeted.
Mr Trump and Mr Xi met for the first time at the US President's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last week, where they discussed trade and the problem of North Korea.
North Korea has reacted angrily to the US's show of force in the region, saying it is ready for war.
An unnamed foreign ministry spokesman told the KCNA news agency that the US's "reckless moves for invading had reached a serious phase".
"We never beg for peace but we will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms and keep to the road chosen by ourselves," he said in a statement.
North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper went even further, threatening that the country had the ability to bomb the US mainland.
"Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the US invasionary bases, not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theatre but also in the US mainland," the paper wrote.
However, in a briefing to reporters on Tuesday, Mr Trump's spokesman Sean Spicer said the White House did not believe the North Koreans had the military technology to follow through on the threat.