SEOUL (Reuters) -- North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said on Friday he believes the North could consider a hydrogen bomb test on the Pacific Ocean of an unprecedented scale, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
Ri was speaking to reporters in New York when he was asked what North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had meant when he threatened in an earlier statement the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" against the United States.
North Korea could consider a hydrogen bomb test, Ri said, although he did not know Kim's exact thoughts, Yonhap reported.
Kim Jong Un blasted U.S. President Donald Trump as "mentally deranged" on Friday and vowed to make him pay dearly for threatening to destroy his country, hours after Trump ordered fresh sanctions over Pyongyang's weapons programs.
Tensions have risen as North Korea has resisted intense international pressure to halt its nuclear and missile programs, with Trump and Kim exchanging ever-more threatening rhetoric.
The U.S. president said in his first address to the United Nations on Tuesday he would "totally destroy" the country of 26 million people if the North threatened the United States and its allies, and called Kim a "rocket man" on a suicide mission.
BREAKING: South Korean media report North Korean foreign minister has said country may test hydrogen bomb in Pacific.— The Associated Press (@AP) September 22, 2017
Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on September 3 and has launched dozens of missiles this year as it accelerates a program aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.
Kim said Trump would face "results beyond his expectation," without specifying what action North Korea would take next.
"I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire," Kim said in the rare direct statement carried by the KCNA state news agency, referring to Trump.
(Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Paul Tait)