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North Korea says Trump 'begged for a war' during his Asia trip

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President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae In at a news conference in Seoul.  AP

The four-day drills that began in waters off South Korea's eastern coast came as President Donald Trump traded insults with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.

Also on Saturday, the USA and South Korean navies launched four days of joint drills off the east coast of South Korea.

It is the first such triple-carrier drill in the region for a decade.

Trump has repeatedly railed against the North as he urges the region to take a united front against the threat posed by the isolated nation, which has sparked global alarm with nuclear and missile tests in recent months.

Tensions have been running high since North Korea test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 and flew ballistic missiles over Japan on August 29 and September 15. The carriers will conduct several training activities, including air defense drills, sea surveillance and defense air combat, until Tuesday. We speak with Professor Bruce Cumings, who just returned from Seoul, South Korea, where Trump was met with protests.

American leaders, including President Donald Trump, have warned the belligerent regime not to "underestimate" or "test" US strength.

"The future of this region and its lovely people must not be held hostage to a dictator's twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail", he said during a speech in Vietnam to the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Trump has previously derided North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "rocket man".

"His current trip to our surrounding region is a warmonger's visit for confrontation to rid the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) of its self-defensive nuclear deterrence", North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on the state media, Korean Central News Agency.

Xi repeated his plea for the issue to be resolved through negotiations, saying China was ready to discuss the "pathway leading to enduring peace and stability on the peninsula".

Xi said the two countries reiterated their "firm commitment" to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the implementation of United Nations resolutions.

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