WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump taunted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Tuesday night, boasting on Twitter that his “nuclear button” is “much bigger and more powerful” than the North Korean dictator’s.
The president’s comments were in response to Un’s New Year’s Day address. In it, the North Korean leader said he longed for a “peaceful resolution with [South Korea on the] southern border,” and in a possible show of diplomacy, offered to send a North Korean delegation to the forthcoming Winter Olympic games in Seoul.
But the offer to South Korea came with a terse reminder for the United States.
“The entire mainland of the U.S is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office. They should be accurately aware that this is not a threat but a reality,” Un said.
Trump responded on Twitter, writing: “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 and it is much bigger & more powerful one than this, and my Button works.”
At a news briefing Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the U.S. continues to believe North Korea is a global threat and that the administration will keep “all options on the table” as the international community continues to try to grapple with Un’s nuclear ambitions.
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also responded to Un’s warning Tuesday.
“The civilized world must remain united and vigilant against the rogue state’s development of a nuclear arsenal. We will never accept a nuclear North Korea,” Haley said.
Trump has repeatedly made controversial statements about the North Korean leader via his Twitter account, referring to Un as “Little Rocket Man” or “Rocket Man” on multiple occasions.
He was at it again several hours before Un addressed his nation.
“Sanctions and ‘other’ pressures are beginning to have a big impact on North Korea. Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea. Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for the first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not – we will see!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
North Korea has repeatedly responded in kind.
An official statement from the North Korean government in September referred to Trump as a ‘dotard’. The insult was renewed on Dec. 9 when a North Korean spokesman condemned Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“Considering the fact that the mentally deranged dotard openly called for a total destruction of a sovereign state at the U.N., this action is not so surprising,” a Korean Central News Agency spokesman said in December.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest trading of barbs.