Published: Sat, September 23, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Behind fevered rhetoric, Kim seeks parity with Trump

Behind fevered rhetoric, Kim seeks parity with Trump

South Korea says Kim Jong Un's rebuke against U.S. President Donald Trump marked the first time a North Korean leader directly issued a statement to the worldwide community under his name.

Ri Yong Ho spoke to reporters in NY shortly after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an unprecedented televised statement, accusing Trump of being "mentally deranged".

His fiery address to the UN General Assembly drew an unprecedented response from the despotic Kim, who delivered a personal address to his arch nemesis.

The president spoke of his own nation's "patience", but said that if "forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea".

But if North Korea really detonates a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific, it will have huge repercussions. A photo and video was released of Kim reading the statement.

"We are clear that North Korea's actions are provocative and destabilising and our focus is on increasing the pressure on them to change course".

Ri's comments followed Kim's extraordinary statement lashing out at Trump, vowing the American leader would "pay dearly" for his threat to destroy North Korea.

The State Affairs Commission is the highest decision-making body of the North, introduced by the young leader in 2016 to replace the National Defense Commission, which his late father Kim Jong-il chaired to rule the country.

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Meanwhile, countries in the Pacific region near to North Korea are on high alert after Pyongyang warned it was considering a huge nuclear test somewhere in the area.

The United States and many other nations have criticized North Korea for continuing to develop nuclear weapons and carrying out repeated missile tests.

South Korea's government noted that Kim's response, written in the first person, was the first such direct address to the world by any North Korean leader.

The president's repeated attempts to challenge Kim, using language remarkably similar to that typically found in North Korean propaganda, seemed to reach a zenith Tuesday when he vowed from the United Nations dais to "totally destroy North Korea" if provoked. The new executive order empowered the U.S. Treasury Department to impose economic sanctions on Pyongyang and companies and individuals doing business with the Northeast Asian country. Analysis claimed that a nuclear test involving a missile could be "truly terrifying", if something goes wrong.

"Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world", Kim said.

North Korea upped its increasingly antagonistic game of brinkmanship with the United States on Friday, threatening to launch a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

Trump responded by tweeting that Kim is "obviously a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people".

The North's incessant glorification of Kim is abetted in large part by its success in portraying a leader willing and able to defy, with threats and proud disdain, a purported USA -led campaign to crush North Korea with the toughest imaginable sanctions. China, responsible for about 90 percent of North Korea's trade, serves as the country's conduit to the worldwide banking system.

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