North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a rare, explosive address Thursday, two days after U.S. President Donald Trumpthreatened to “totally destroy” the isolated nation if provoked. And just hours later, the country’s foreign minister threatened the test of a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific, South Korean media reported.
“I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” Kim said of Trump, who is 71 years old. “Action is the best option in treating the dotard who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wanted to say,” he continued, according to a translation of his statement.
Late Thursday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said the country’s potential “highest action” against the U.S. could be the detonation of a hydrogen bomb, according to Yonhap News.
“It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific,” Ri said. “We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong-un.”
Trump delivered his first address before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. During his 41-minute remarks, he said Kim was “on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” then threatened to destroy the nuclear-armed nation.
Kim’s response was confusing but clearly sinister: “Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history that would destroy [North Korea], we will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history,” he cautioned.
Pyongyang and Washington have traded escalating threats in recent months, with Trump vowing in August to use “fire and fury” if necessary. His administration has made it clear that military intervention remains on the table as a potential strategy to rein in North Korea.
The Kim dynasty has threatened to rain down its own “fire” against its enemies for decades, including pledges to reduce Seoul “to ashes.” But analysts say Kim’s direct address to a foreign leader is unique, and they fear what he may test next to flex the north’s military might.
North Korea has rapidly escalated its antagonistic military agenda this year, prompting widespread international condemnation. The country conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, claiming it had detonated a hydrogen bomb designed to be carried on an…