North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says US President Donald Trump’s remarks to the United Nations threatening the hermit country reflect “mentally deranged behavior,” according to a statement released by North Korea’s state-run news agency, KCNA.
In the statement, which was written in the first person, Kim says North Korea will make the US leader “pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying the DPRK.”
“I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue,” Kim said. “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire.”
Dotard is slang in Korean for an old person.
In his first address to the United Nations as President, Trump said that the US would “totally destroy” North Korea if the US was forced to defend its allies, a warning seen as unprecedented for a US president delivering an address to the world’s leaders and top diplomats.
“Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world,” Kim said. “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.”
Asked to respond to Kim’s statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told CNN on Thursday night, “Not at this time.”
The release of Kim’s statement comes after North Korea’s foreign minister delivered a scornful response to Trump’s threat, likening it to the sound of “a dog barking.”
Ri Yong Ho, who is in the US for the United Nations General Assembly, said he “felt sorry” for the President’s advisers after a fiery speech to the UN on Tuesday.
A handful of North Korea analysts believe that this is the first time Kim Jong Un has ever released a first-person statement.
“This is unprecedented, as far as we can tell,” said Vipin Narang, a professor of political science at MIT and expert on deterrence and nuclear policy. “He was clearly offended by the speech, and what concerns me most is the response is he says he is considering.”
In his statement, Kim said he “will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”
That statement was particularly worrying to Narang, he told CNN.
“I don’t think any of us should jump to conclusions about what he’s going to test, but I think it’s a serious statement from him and we should take it seriously.”
The White House, meanwhile, took the another step in its so-called “peaceful pressure” campaign to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear program, expanding sanctions on North Korea and those who do business with the country.
Though the majority of North Korea’s imports come from China, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said “This action is directed at everyone” and the steps are “in no way specifically directed at China.”
The executive order Trump inked just ahead of the lunch enhances Treasury Department authorities to target individuals who provide goods, services or technology to North Korea, Trump said. He said the order would also allow the US to identify new industries — including textiles, fishing and manufacturing — as potential targets for future actions.