South Korea and China have reacted to US President-elect Donald Trump's tweet on North Korea's nuclear missile threat on Tuesday (3 January). While China denied Trump's accusation, South Korea said the Republican's message should be construed as a "clear warning" to Pyongyang.

China's comments have come after Trump took to twitter to slam the communist country of not helping Pentagon to contain North's nuclear ambition.

China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing's hard work to denuclearise the Korean peninsula is "obvious" to everyone. He also called on Trump to recognise the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue and urged him to respect Beijing's stand on the 'one China' policy.

Trump also fired tweet missiles on Monday (2 January) attacking the North after its leader Kim Jong-un said his country was close to test-firing intercontinental ballistic missiles that are capable of reaching any part of the US.

Trump rubbished the claim, and said on Twitter: "It won't happen".

Meanwhile, South Korea, a regional ally of the US, said Trump's tweet showed that the president-elect is aware of the importance of the threat posed by the North's nuclear and missile programmes. Seoul's foreign ministry said Trump's tweets could be interpreted as a "clear warning" to the North, according to a Reuters report.

"Because of our active outreach, President-elect Trump and U.S. officials are clearly aware of the gravity and urgency of the North Korean nuclear threat," ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck told a news briefing on Tuesday (3 January). "They are maintaining an unwavering stance on the need for sanctions on North Korea and for close cooperation between South Korea and the US."

Trump's comments were thought to be the first direct comment on North Korea's missile programmes ever since he won the election on 8 November. The Republican, who will take charge of the White House from 20 January, is yet to formally outline his policy on Pyongyang. But during the US election campaign, he indicated that he would speak to the isolated country's leader Kim if given the chance.

The White House, for several years, has dismissed calls for talks with North Korea and insisted that is must first disarm.

North Korea threats
China said it is workign hard to denuclearise Korea peninsula after North Korea's Kim Jong-un said his military is on the verge of testing its first intercontinental ballistic missiles KCNA via Reuters