US President Donald Trump today warned that his “nuclear button” is “much bigger and more powerful” than the one controlled by North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, as the White House said it was keeping all of its options on the table to curb Pyongyang’s atomic programme.
Trump’s response followed a New Year’s Day address by Kim, who said that North Korea’s nuclear weapons can reach anywhere in the US and threatened that he has a nuclear button on his desk.
The two leaders have threatened one another’s countries with nuclear weapons repeatedly over the last year.
“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, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” Trump said in a tweet.
In a televised address to the nation, Kim had said the entire area of the US mainland is within North Korea’s nuclear strike range.
In the same address, the North Korean leader also said his country needs to mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles and accelerate their deployment.
The White House called North Korea “a global threat” and asked countries to step up pressure against it.
“The focus here is to apply maximum pressure on North Korea and the US wants other countries to join it in this,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters.
“This is a global threat, which is why we’re calling on everybody to step up and do more and we’re going to continue working with a lot of different leaders and other countries to help do that,” she said.
Sanders said the US is keeping all its options “on the table”.
Earlier, Trump said the US-led international sanctions and “other pressures” are beginning to have a big impact on the authoritarian North Korean regime after its leader Kim called for a breakthrough in relations with South Korea and said Pyongyang might attend the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang.