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Trump Criticizes China Over North Korea's Nuclear Program

by Eoghan Macguire /  / Updated 
Image: Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in an undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 25, 2016.KCNA / Reuters

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A state-run Chinese newspaper accused Donald Trump of "pandering to 'irresponsible' attitudes" Tuesday after the president-elect alleged that Beijing had failed to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Sunday that his country was close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Having conducted three nuclear tests during Kim's five years in power, he is thought to be pursuing the missile technology it would need to attack South Korea. North Korea also has designs on reaching the U.S. military outpost of Guam and the U.S. mainland itself.

Trump tweeted Monday that the prospect of North Korea developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. "won't happen," but offered no other details as to why that would be the case.

Related: What Will Trump Do About Kim Jong Un?

The president-elect then took a swipe at China for what he sees as its part in failing to control its neighbor’s nuclear ambitions.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded Tuesday that China's hard work in trying to ensure the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is obvious to all, Reuters reported.

Related: China Expresses 'Serous Concern' Over Trump Threat

However, the state-run Global Times tabloid was more aggressive.

It responded to Trump’s tweets by stating that he was "pandering to 'irresponsible' attitudes" and stoking “the anxieties of some Americans" who blame China rather than looking inward, according to The Associated Press.

China is North Korea’s main ally and a key economic supporter. While Beijing has frequently condemned North Korean nuclear tests, Defense Secretary Ash Carter stated in September that the fact they had gotten so far was the responsibility of China.

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Trump has also repeatedly criticized China on social media since winning November’s presidential election and ruffled feathers in Beijing by speaking with the president of Taiwan by phone.

China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province.

Trump has also spoken out on nuclear weapons, stating that a new arms race was possible when speaking to MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" last month.

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