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Seoul: Trump's tweets are clear warnings to North Korea

By Elizabeth Shim
Seoul: Trump's tweets are clear warnings to North Korea
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is gaining attention in Seoul after he tweeted about North Korea on Monday. The messages are warnings to Pyongyang, South Korea’s foreign ministry said Tuesday. Pool Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool | License Photo

SEOUL, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's tweeted response to North Korea's statement on missile development is a warning to Pyongyang, Seoul said Tuesday.

South Korea's foreign ministry spokesman Cho Joon-hyuk told reporters Trump's tweets, sent out on Monday, were the first messages the president-elect has issued directly addressing North Korea, South Korean news service News 1 reported.

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"President-elect Trump's messages can be interpreted as a clear warning, regarding Kim Jong Un's New Year's Day speech and the statement on intercontinental ballistic missiles," Cho said.

On Monday, Trump tweeted, "North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!"

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Trump then tweeted, "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!"

The president-elect has previously said Beijing has done little to assist the United States in controlling North Korea's weapons proliferation, a statement that has invited speculation about his future North Korea policy and his approach to China, a country that has been cooperating on tougher sanctions.

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Cho added Seoul is cooperating closely and is in "strategic communication" with Trump's transition team as well as the current administration of President Barack Obama.

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Beijing has yet to issue a response to Trump's social media statements, but on Monday state tabloid Global Times listed the "Korean peninsula" as the top site of a possible military conflict in 2017.

Beijing's state media claimed the peninsula cannot be ruled out as a place of conflict during Trump's presidency, and warned of a military response if Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen continues to strengthen notions of Taiwanese independence from the mainland.

Under the "one-China policy" Beijing does not recognize Taiwanese sovereignty.

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