North Korean leader Kim Jong Un blasted US President Donald Trump as “mentally deranged” on Friday and vowed to make him pay dearly for threatening to destroy his country, hours after Trump ordered fresh sanctions+ over Pyongyang‘s weapons programs.
Tensions have risen as North Korea has resisted intense international pressure to halt its nuclear and missile programs, with Trump and Kim exchanging ever-more threatening rhetoric.
The US president said in his first address to the United Nations on Tuesday he would ” totally destroy+ ” the country of 26 million people if the North threatened the United States and its allies, and called Kim a “rocket man” on a suicide mission.
Kim said the North would consider the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” against the United States and that Trump’s comments had confirmed his nuclear program was “the correct path”.
Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test+ on Sept. 3 and has launched dozens of missiles this year as it accelerates a program aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.
Kim said Trump would face “results beyond his expectation”, without specifying what action North Korea would take next.
“I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire,” Kim said in the rare direct statement carried by the KCNA state news agency, referring to Trump.
The escalating rhetoric came even as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for statesmanship to avoid “sleepwalking” into a war.
South Korea, Russia and China all urged calm.