THE WAR of words between North Korea and the United States has again escalated, as a 3.4 magnitude earthquake hit parts of North Korea on Saturday. Experts remain divided over whether it was the result of a nuclear test by Pyongyang or natural occurrence.
The US government said that the earthquake occurred in the area of previous North Korean nuclear tests, however that it “cannot conclusively confirm” whether it was natural or human-made. South Korea’s weather agency, however, said it was presumed to be natural.
It occurred hours after US Air Force planes flew in international airspace close to North Korea, in what the Pentagon called a show of force to illustrate the military options available to President Donald Trump.
During an address to the UN General Assembly on Saturday, meanwhile, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said that targeting the US mainland with the country’s rockets was an inevitability because “Mr Evil President” Trump had insulted the rogue state’s regime.
In amongst tweets about NFL stars taking a knee during the US national anthem, Trump again lashed out at the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by calling him “Little Rocket Man” and threatening that he “won’t be around much longer.”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Last week, Kim personally issued a statement in which he responded to Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea during his UN General Assembly address. The North Korean leader called Trump a “mentally deranged US dotard” and said he would have to “tame” America with fire.
Top advisers to the US president had repeatedly warned him not to personally attack Kim due to the North Korean leader’s unpredictable nature, but Trump went off-script and used the terms “Rocket Man” and “suicide mission”, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Over the weekend, thousands of North Koreans attended an anti-American rally in Pyongyang. The country’s state media agency KCNA reported that more than 100,000 people attended on Saturday.
KCNA said that those attending the rally were “full of the stamina not to miss the golden opportunity for giving vent to pent-up wrath of the Korean people but to wipe out the US group of ignorant gangsters letting loose such invectives as ‘total destruction.’”
Another day, another anti-America rally in Pyongyang. This from Sunday's Rodong Sinmun: pic.twitter.com/wiqgxP510v
— Chad O'Carroll (@chadocl) September 24, 2017
“We are waiting for the moment of final decisive battle to remove the US empire of evil, from the globe,” said Ri Il-bae, a commander from the Worker-Peasant Red Guards, as quoted by South Korea’s state news agency Yonhap.
“Once respected Supreme Commander Kim Jong-un issues an order, we will annihilate the group of aggressors with the arms of revolution.”