North Korea and its key geopolitical ally China have become the latest Twitter targets of US President-elect Donald Trump. Continuing his unconventional way of indicating his foreign policy messages via the social media platform, the incoming American leader said North Korea would never attain capabilities to launch long-range ballistic missiles.
In his first tweet, the Republican wrote: "North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the US. It won't happen!" This is the first time Trump has made a direct comment on North Korea since the election. Trump has not clearly stated his foreign policy when it comes to dealing with the hermit kingdom in North Korea.
The outspoken leader was responding to recent remarks made by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who in his New Year address declared his country was on the verge of test-firing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Kim said the North is in the final stages of acquiring the long-range weapons.
Such a development is of serious concern to the international community. However, analysts are still sceptical of the North's abilities to develop such long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and insist the country is years away from it.
Trump quickly followed it up with another message, firing another charge at China saying Beijing did not do enough to stop Pyongyang. Less than an hour from the first tweet, Trump wrote: "China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the US in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea. Nice!" Unlike his messages on the Russian leadership — mostly praise and admiration — Trump is usually critical of China.
Trump's latest message targeted at China also hints that Washington could step up pressure on Beijing at global platforms in order to limit the weapons development programmes of the North.