President Donald Trump again challenged North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, boasting that the United States’ nuclear capabilities are “more powerful” than North Korea’s.
Trump tweeted the taunt Tuesday evening:
Trump’s tweet comes one day after Kim warned the U.S. against threatening North Korea.
In his New Year’s address, Kim delivered a mixed message, indicating a possible rapprochement to South Korea, while lashing out at the United States.
In the speech Monday, Kim offered to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month and proposed talks to discuss the event.
At the same time, Kim warned the U.S. that years of work on its nuclear and missile development programs meant that Pyongyang posed as much of a threat to the U.S. as ever.
“The entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, and a nuclear button is always on my desk,” Kim said. “This is reality, not a threat.”
The speech drove a wedge between allies South Korea and the United States. South Korean leader Moon Jae-In on Tuesday proposed high-level talks between both neighbors.
Trump had responded with restraint to South Korea’s outreach.
Pyongyang has made significant strides in its nuclear and missile development programs, having tested several intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and a hydrogen bomb. Experts believe the entire continental U.S. is now within ICBM striking range.
Trump has stepped up the pressure on the North Korean regime to give up its nuclear development with a mix of sanctions, threats and condescending language. In August, he threatened to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if North Korea threatened the United States.
Trump has come to refer to Kim as “rocket man,” while the North Korean leader in turn has referred to the U.S. president as “the mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, warned North Korea on Tuesday against conducting another missile test.
“As we hear reports that North Korea might be preparing for another missile test ― I hope that does not happen, but if it does ― we must bring even more measures to bear on the North Korea regime,” Haley said. “The civilized world must remain united and vigilant against the rogue state’s nuclear arsenal. We will never accept a nuclear North Korea.”
This article has been updated with information on North Korea’s nuclear weapon development and on the U.N. ambassador’s warning.