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Trump extols Asia trip, vows 'maximum pressure' on North Korea

US President Donald Trump delivered a televised statement a day after returning from a marathon trip to Asia
Nicholas Kamm (AFP)

US President Donald Trump vowed a global campaign of "maximum pressure" on North Korea Wednesday, warning Pyongyang will not subject the world to "nuclear blackmail."

Lauding an almost two week trip to Asia that was long on pomp but -- critics say -- short on achievements, Trump said he had successfully galvanized opposition to North Korean proliferation. 

"I made clear that we will not allow this twisted dictatorship to hold the world hostage to nuclear blackmail," Trump said in a televised statement a day after returning from the marathon trip.

Trump said that he had won a commitment from Chinese leader Xi Jinping to use Beijing's economic leverage to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

"President Xi recognizes that North Korea is a great threat to China," the US leader said.

During the 25 minute address, Trump repeatedly reached for a bottle of water and appeared worn by the long journey that took in Hawaii, South Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Democratic Senator Edward Markey summed up the sentiment of many in his camp in saying that Trump failed to "make meaningful progress" on "critical economic and security issues during his trip to East Asia."

"Rather than building on the messages in Japan and South Korea on the importance of trilateral unity in the face of the North Korean threat, President Trump tweeted about how hard he has tried to be North Korea's friend and called Kim Jong Un 'short and fat,'" he said. 

Trump said the red carpet rolled out for him in Asia showed that "America is back."

"Everywhere we went, our foreign hosts greeted the American delegation and myself included with incredible warmth and hospitality and most importantly respect."

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