Washington, Feb 7: Republican presidential candidates today lashed out at President Barack Obama and his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is aspiring to succeed him, for the latest North Korean missile test which they say is the result of their "incompetence".
"I think we have a president who is totally incompetent, and he doesn't know what he's doing. I think he has no idea what he's doing. And our country is going to hell," Donald Trump, the front runner Republican presidential candidate said ahead of the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.
Trump said he would get on with China, and solve that problem.
"China says they don't have that good of control over North Korea. They have tremendous control," he said.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who had an impressive performance in the Iowa Caucus and is being billed as the Republican establishment candidate, agreed with Trump that China does have a lot of influence over North Korea.
"And he (US President Barack Obama) should be leveraging our relationship with the Chinese to ensure that North Korea no longer has access to the resources that have allowed them to develop long range missiles already capable of reaching the west coast of the United States potentially," he said.
Rubio also demanded that North Korea be declared a terrorist state.
"The launch from a nuclear North Korea is the direct result of the failures of the first Clinton administration. The Clinton administration led the world in relaxing sanctions against North Korea. Billions of dollars flowed into North Korea in exchange for promises not to build nuclear weapons. They took those billions and built nuclear weapons," Senator Ted Cruz said.
Ohio Governor Kohn Kasich said that the US has to make sure that it intercepts North Korean ships and aircraft.
"Because what they're trying to do is to proliferate this very dangerous material, along with technology, the instruments that can be used for mass destruction," he said.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that the North Koreans do not understand anything but toughness and strength.
"They do not understand anything but toughness and strength, and we need to engage the Chinese to deal with the North Koreans," he said.
"This is unacceptable. And this is why this President is so weak and why the Secretary of State, who is embracing a third Barack Obama term, would be even weaker," Christie said.
Meanwhile, the Hillary Clinton campaign in a statement said that North Korea's nuclear breakout and first nuclear test occurred under the George W Bush administration, which had been putting almost all of its effort into Iraq.
Clinton, who is now the Democratic front-runner for the White House, led the US' pivot to Asia, strengthening US alliances with Japan and South Korea and bolstering our defences in the region, it said.
"Clinton worked with our partners and allies and passed the toughest sanctions against the North Korean regime to date, even rallying the Chinese and Russians to the coalition," the campaign said in a statement.