US President Donald Trump dialled up the rhetoric against North Korea again at the weekend, warning the country’s foreign minister that he and leader Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer”, as Pyongyang staged a major anti-US rally.
North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the UN General Assembly that targeting the US mainland with its rockets was inevitable after “Mr Evil President” Trump called Pyongyang’s leader a “rocket man” on a suicide mission.
“Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at UN. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” Trump said on Twitter.
Trump and Kim have traded increasingly threatening and personal insults as Pyongyang races towards its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the US, something Trump has vowed to prevent.
Analysts say the escalation in rhetoric is increasing the risk of a miscalculation by one side or the other that could have massive repercussions.
North Korea’s KRT TV aired a video on Sunday showing tens of thousands of people attending an anti-US rally at Kim Il Sung square.
KCNA said more than 100,000 people gathered for the rally and delivered speeches supporting comments made by Kim.
In an unprecedented direct statement on Friday, Kim described Trump as a “mentally deranged US dotard” whom he would tame with fire.
Kim said the North would consider the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” against the US and that Trump’s comments had confirmed his nuclear programme was “the correct path”.
Kim’s comments came after Trump threatened in his maiden UN address on Thursday to “totally destroy” the country of 26 million people.
It was not clear from Trump’s latest tweet if he was referring to Ri and Kim, or North Korea more broadly.