North Korea calls Trump's "nuclear button" tweet the "spasm of a lunatic"

Lavrov Russia not going to join Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Ironically, it's a switch on traditional North Korean tactics: Pyongyang has often rattled a sabre to push the United States into direct talks and cut out South Korea.

Trump responded with a mocking statement on Twitter, saying he, too, had a nuclear button, but one "much bigger and more powerful" than Kim's, and that "my Button works!"

"In Pyongyang's first reaction to the tweet, the North's official party newspaper Rodong Sinmun on Tuesday dismissed Trump's "swaggering" as nothing but the "spasm of a lunatic" frightened by North Korea's power, and the "bark of a rabid dog".

Reuters reports that Trump also raised doubts that talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would be useful for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, though he has not ruled out direct talks with Kim.

The other key development is Mr. Trump, and talk of war - or just as chilling, the talk of a potential "bloody nose" strike on North Korea that could inflict pain without leading to full-scale war.

When asked directly if Trump has spoken with Kim, Kelly preferred not to comment.

Trump has repeatedly threatened Pyongyang over the past 12 months in what has played out as an escalating game of verbal jibes between himself and Kim Jong-un regime.

Brian Hook, the U.S. State Department's policy planning staff director, said the U.S. has been "in discussions" with China and Russian Federation leading up to the Vancouver Group and will provide them a "readout" at the summit's conclusion.

For his part, Trump has vacillated between praising and criticizing China, which he has cast as critical to reining in North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

During their third day of talks at the border in about a week, senior officials reached a package of agreements including fielding a joint women's ice hockey team and marching together under a blue and white "unification flag" depicting their peninsula in the opening ceremony, Seoul's Unification Ministry said. China accounts for 90 per cent of North Korea's foreign trade, he noted, adding that there is room for the Asian power to do even more beyond imposing United Nations sanctions.

It appears the seemingly pleasant relations between North and South Korea, who have met twice in the past week for the first time in over two years, did little to affect the US' stance on the hermit kingdom, if the chilling travel advisory is anything to go by. He said he hoped the standoff between him and Kim could be resolved "in a peaceful way, but it's very possible that it can't".

The paper accused the U.S. of attempting to drive a wedge between North and South Korea as the pair engage in diplomatic talks.

John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University's Graduate School of International Studies in South Korea, believes that North Korea has over time grown so accustomed to adapting to sanctions that their leadership is less phased by the economic pressure.



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