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Trump tweets that North Korea is 'looking for trouble' and signs the message 'U.S.A.'

President Donald Trump escalated his rhetoric against North Korea on Tuesday, writing on Twitter that the country "is looking for trouble" and encouraging North Korea's neighbor China to "solve the problem."

Trump signed the message: "U.S.A."

In a second message, Trump said he told China's President Xi Jinping during his visit to Florida last week that China would get a better trade deal with the U.S. if Xi helped reign in North Korea's missile program, apparently linking China's cooperation on security issues with its economic actions.

Tensions with North Korea have ratcheted up following a series of American and South Korean military exercises in the region and a U.S. decision to divert an aircraft carrier and other warships from a planned visit to Australia and toward the Korean peninsula in recent days. 

Trump appeared to be responding to a statement from a North Korean spokesman threatening "catastrophic consequences" for the U.S. maneuvers, adding that the isolated country is "ready" for "any mode" of war.

“We will hold the U.S. wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions,” a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said in a report published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. North Korea "is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the U.S.,” the statement said.

The U.S. has long wanted China to intervene more forcefully with North Korea and use its leverage over the North Korean economy to force Pyongyang to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Chinese officials are afraid of sparking an economic collapse in North Korea that could send thousands of refugees into China.

Trump has said his administration is prepared to act alone if China is unable to restrain North Korea's missile program.

"If China decides to help, that would be great," Trump wrote Tuesday. "If not, we will solve the problem without them!"

Experts believe that North Korea may be preparing to conduct its sixth nuclear test on Saturday, to coincide with the birthday of its founder, Kim Il-sung.

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