When US President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea and mocked its leader, Kim Jong-un, as the “Rocket Man” in a speech on Tuesday at theUnited Nations General Assembly, the rhetorical retaliation from Pyongyang was inevitable. That Kim Jong-un would call Trump a “mentally deranged US dotard” on Friday was something more of a surprise. The word “dotard” in particular sent people to the dictionary to look up the arcane insult.
Responding directly for the first time to US President Donald Trumps threat at the UN to destroy nuclear-armed North Korea, its leader Kim Jong-un called Trump a “mentally deranged US dotard” as the regime’s Foreign Minister hinted it may explode a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.
In a rare statement, Kim Jong-un said that Trump would “pay dearly” for his threat, a state media report said on Friday. The leader said he “will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history”, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report said.
“I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue.
Trump insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history,” Kim said.
“I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the US pay dearly for his speech,” which he called “unprecedented rude nonsense”.
“Action is the best option in treating the dotard who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say,” Kim added. “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire.”
Kim’s use of the term “dotard”, had set the internet alight. While not widely used today, the insult is centuries old, appearing in medieval literature from the ninth century.
Searches for the term spiked in the wake of Kim’s address, according to dictionary Merriam-Webster, which defines the term as referring to “a state or period of senile decay marked by the decline of mental poise”.
Referring to Trump’s Tuesday speech at the UN General Assembly, Kim said: “A frightened dog barks louder. He is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician.”
On the fringes of the UN General Assembly in New York, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told reporters Pyongyang might now consider detonating a hydrogen bomb outside its territory.
“I think that it could be an H-bomb test at an unprecedented level, perhaps over the Pacific,” he said.
However, he added: “It is up to our leader so I do not know well.”
In his speech, Trump called North Korean regime a “band of criminals” and Kim a “Rocket Man” on “a suicide mission”.
“The US has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” he said.
Japan’s Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said the country must ready itself for the sudden escalation in tensions and be prepared for a missile launch.
“We cannot deny the possibility it may fly over our country,” Onodera said on Thursday. Japan had been subjected to two North Korean missile test flyovers in recent weeks.
Responding to the speech, Kim said Trump’s comments amounted to an insult, reports CNN.
“I’d like to advise Trump to exercise prudence in selecting words and to be considerate of whom he speaks to when making a speech in front of the world.”
North Korea was scheduled to speak at the UN General Assembly on Friday night but dropped off its planned roster spot. The country could still get a slot at another time.
Meanwhile, the White House on Thursday night took the another step in its so-called “peaceful pressure” campaign to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, expanding sanctions on North Korea and those who do business with the country.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order aimed at further cutting off the funding for North Korea.
Calling North Korea’s nuclear and missile programme “a grave threat to peace and security in our world”, Trump told reporters the new executive order would cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s nuclear programme, Xinhua news agency reported.
“The order enhances the (US) Treasury Department’s authorities to target any individual or entity that conducts significant trade in goods, services or technology (with North Korea),” said Trump before a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in New York.
North Korea confirmed that it conducted another medium-range ballistic missile test last Friday.
The missile launch, which violates UN Security Council resolutions, came just days after the council imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear test on September 3.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday met with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha and reiterated Beijing’s demand for the removal of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile shield.
Regarding the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, Wang said China will continue to strictly implement relevant UN Security Council resolutions concerning North Korea.
Also, Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May have discussed issues concerning Iran and North Korea, the White House has said.
“They discussed approaches to end Iran’s destabilizing influence in Syria and Iraq. The two leaders also reviewed next steps on the Iran nuclear deal,” said the White House in a statement on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.
During their meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York, Trump also asked the British leader to increase pressure on North Korea, said the statement.
Trump said on Wednesday that he had already made a decision on the fate of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, but declined to give details.
Under the US law, the State Department is required every 90 days to recertify to Congress Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal.
So far, the Trump administration had recertified Iran’s compliance with the deal twice and the next deadline for recertification comes due on October 15, 2017.
According to media reports, Trump reportedly clashed with his national security team on whether he should recertify Iran’s compliance in July. Soon after the second recertification, Trump told The Wall Street Journal that he “personally” would expect Iran to be declared noncompliant in October.
Iran and six world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US — reached an agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue in July 2015 that put it on the path of sanctions relief but with more strict limits on its nuclear programme.
The deal set limits on Iran’s nuclear activities and allowed regular inspections of the facilities inside Iran. In return, the US and the European Union will suspend nuclear-related sanctions against Iran, with the lifting of all past UN Security Council sanctions resolutions.
Trump had recently called Iran a “rogue” state, which has aroused a fierce response from the Iranian government. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday at the UN General Assembly that Trump’s recent anti-Iran speech was “ignorant and spiteful”. (IANS)