President Donald Trump called North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un a “madman” who would be “tested like never before” on Friday morning, hours after the rogue nation threatened to test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific.
Trump tweeted the threat following a rare, explosive statement from Kim, who warned the U.S. president would “pay dearly” for his address to the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week.
“I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” Kim said of Trump. “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.
Hours later, North Korea’s foreign minister threatened to drop a hydrogen bomb somewhere in the Pacific.
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.
Trump lobbed another verbal attack toward Kim while addressing the United Nations for the first time on Tuesday. The president called the leader a “rocket man ... on a suicide mission,” and warned that he would “totally destroy” North Korea if the country carried out threats of military action against the U.S. or its allies.
Trump also announced new U.S.-imposed sanctions against North Korea on Thursday, which would force countries to choose between doing business with the U.S., an economic juggernaut, or isolated North Korea.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said Trump is “very serious” about holding other countries ― especially China ― accountable over their relationship with North Korea.
“World leaders [are] taking seriously President Trump’s actions ― not his threats, not his words,” Conway said Friday during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.” “The president made very clear this week ... in the United Nations that North Korea is everybody’s problem.”
But experts have warned against U.S. leadership using bombastic language.
“Describing North Korea as irrational and crazy [in the U.S.] might demonize the existence of the Kim Jong Un regime, or provide the rationale to criticize or kind of act more coercively towards North Korea,” Kuyoun Chung, a research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification, a think tank funded by the South Korean government, told HuffPost in August. “But that does not really help the security of the United States and the security of northeast Asia.”