North Korea has warned that US President Donald Trump’s bellicose remarks against the Asian country and its leader will make the US mainland an “inevitable” target for rocket strikes.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Hong remarks on Saturday in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly came hours after the US flew bomber jets near North Korea.
Tensions between the US and North Korea have risen in recent weeks.
Earlier this week, Trump called the North Korean leader “rocket man” and a “madman”. Kim hit back, dubbing him a “mentally deranged US dotard” who would face the “highest level of hardline countermeasure in history” in retaliation for the US president saying Washington would “totally destroy” the Asian country if it threatened the US or its allies.
Insults fly as Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un continue war of words
Trump announced new US sanctions on Thursday that he said would allow targeting of companies and institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea.
Earlier this month the UN Security Council unanimously adopted its ninth round of sanctions on Pyongyang to counter its nuclear and ballistic missiles programmes.
The US bombers’ flight was the farthest north of the demilitarised zone separating North and South Korea that any US fighter jet or bomber has flown in the 21st century, the Pentagon said.
Kim Jong-un calls Donald Trump ‘deranged’
Ri warned Pyongyang was ready to defend itself if Washington showed any sign of conducting a “decapitating operation on our headquarters or military attack against our country”.
Richard Ponzio, director of the Just Security 2020 Program at The Stimson Center, said “this past week’s troubling war of words certainly has the potential to get out of hand and result in a regrettable situation for all parties”.
Speaking from Washington, DC, Ponzio told Al Jazeera that actions such as the US bombers’ flyover and the talk of more rockets launces by the North Koreans “is certainly not helping the situation”.