UNITED NATIONS —
North Korea’s foreign minister brought a dictionary full of insults for U.S. President Donald Trump when he addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Saturday.
Ri Yong Ho said he needed to respond to Trump, who on Tuesday called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” and said he was on a suicide mission with his nuclear program.
Ri called Trump “a mentally deranged person full of megalomania” who is on a suicide mission of his own.
Saturday on Twitter, Trump said that Ri and Kim “won’t be around much longer” if Ri echoed the thoughts of “Little Rocket Man,” a reference to Kim.
“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 tweeted.
Trump and Kim have traded increasingly threatening and personal insults as Pyongyang races towards its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States, something Trump has vowed to prevent.
WATCH: North Korea's foreign minister speaks at UNGA
“In case innocent lives of the U.S. are lost because of this suicide attack,” Trump will be held totally responsible,” Ri said, in response to the U.S. president’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea if it attacks the United States or one of its allies.
“During his eight months in power, he has turned the White House into a noisy marketing place full of crackling sounds of abacus beads, and now he has tried to turn the U.N. arena into a gangsters’ nest where money is respected and bloodshed is the order of the day,” Ri said, in an apparent criticism of Trump’s billionaire businessman roots.
Sees itself as victim
Ri sought to portray his country as the victim of U.S. threats and aggression. He condemned earlier remarks by President Trump in which he promised “fire and fury like the world has never seen” after North Korea threatened to fire missiles at the U.S. island territory of Guam in August.
“What else could be a bigger threat than the violent remarks … coming from the top authority of the world’s biggest nuclear power?” Ri asked.
“The very reason the DPRK had to possess nuclear weapons is because of the U.S.,” he said, using the acronym for the country’s formal name.
But he appeared to almost mock Washington for saying that it hopes not to have to use a military option.
“Although they talk about “fire and fury,” “total destruction” and whatever, every time they have to add various conditions such as, “hopefully this will not be necessary,” “that is not our first option” and so on,” Ri said.
Ri also lashed out at Japan and South Korea, calling them “stooges” of Washington.
On September 3, Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test to date. The regime said it was the successful launch of a hydrogen bomb mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile. The foreign minister waxed poetic about it to the General Assembly.
“The ICBM marked with sacred name of DPRK flew over the universe above the endless blue sky, the warhead of our rocket left its trace on the blue waves of the Pacific Ocean and the tremendous explosion and vibration of the hydrogen bomb were recorded by this planet,” Ri said.
Unusual seismic activity
On Saturday, just hours before Ri’s address, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) recorded unusual seismic activity near a previous North Korean nuclear test site.
The organization’s director, Lassina Zerbo, said on Twitter that the initial assessment is that it was related to geological stress from the blasts that resulted from the September 3 underground nuclear test. A tunnel collapsed in the aftermath of the test.
Following his speech, Ri was met with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.
In a readout from the meeting, the U.N. chief expressed concern over the tensions on the Korean Peninsula and appealed for de-escalation and full implementation of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. Guterres also underscored the need for a political solution to the situation.