The ongoing war of words between the United States and North Korea saw several new fiery salvos, a day on which the US military, in a show of force, flew bombers in international airspace over waters east of North Korea.
The heated remarks also came on a day in which mysterious seismic activity in North Korea refueled concerns over the rogue nation’s nuclear ambitions.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, speaking before the United Nations, angrily responded to US President Donald Trump’s UN remarks in which he referred to Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man.”
Meanwhile, analysts said that seismic activity detected near the site of North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear site might be aftershocks from a nuclear test earlier this month. Seismic activity is often the first indicator of a nuclear test, but the magnitudes Saturday were much smaller than anything declared as a nuclear test in previous years.
At the UN, Ri said that Trump had made a missile attack on the US mainland more inevitable by insulting the dignity of North Korea.
“None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission,” Ri said in a speech at the UN General Assembly. “In case innocent lives of the US are harmed because of this suicide attack, Trump will be held totally responsible.”
Trump took on Twitter Saturday night to respond to Ri’s remarks.
“Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!,” Trump wrote.
The foreign minister also said the “dangerous reality (is) that the gambler who grew old using threats, frauds and all other schemes to acquire a patch of land holds the nuclear button. These are what constitute the gravest threat to the international peace and security today.”
Ri called Trump a “mentally deranged” person who used “reckless and violent words.”
There was no other immediate response from the White House to Ri’s remarks, but there were military manuevers.
The Pentagon said Saturday that B-1B Lancer bombers from Guam and F-15C Eagle fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan, flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea.
It’s the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that US fighters or bomber aircraft have ever flown this century, the Pentagon said.