Donald Trump has taunted Kim Jong-un by saying his nuclear button is “much bigger” and “more powerful”.
The US President was responding to a speech by the North Korean dictator in which he told the world his regime had successfully completed its nuclear weapons program and that “a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office, and this is just a reality, not a threat”.
Mr Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to respond that someone had better tell Mr Kim’s “depleted and food starved regime” that his own nuclear arsenal was more destructive – and actually works.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
The inflammatory message may impact on what appeared to be a lull in the escalating tensions between the Western world and North Korea.
Before Mr Trump’s intervention, Mr Kim had offered in his new year speech to open talks with South Korea – the first in more than two years.
In response, South Korea proposed high-level talks on January 9 at the shared border village of Panmunjom.
It is not the first time Mr Trump has reacted angrily to Mr Kim. Last year he said North Korea would be met with “fire and the fury like the world has never seen” if it tried to attack the US.
For his part, Mr Kim has called the US President a “dotard” and “mentally deranged”.
In his new year speech, the North Korean leader said he had “secured powerful deterrence against the nuclear threat from the US” by successfully building his own nuclear arsenal.
The US does indeed possess a larger and potentially more destructive nuclear arsenal than North Korea, but many experts fear that the regime may now be capable of launching a nuclear strike on the West that would be difficult to prevent, ensuring many civilian casualties.