US President Donald Trump has referred to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un as “Rocket Man” – and pictured himself taking out his former election rival Hillary Clinton with a golf ball.
Trump spoke on Saturday night with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, pledging joint “steps to strengthen deterrence and defence capabilities and to maximise economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea”, according to the White House.
Trump’s own account of the conversation, which kicked off an unbridled salvo of early morning tweets on Sunday, struck a less diplomatic tone.
“I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!” the president wrote to his 38 million followers.
He then launched into half a dozen retweets of internet memes celebrating his Make America Great Again campaign theme – topping it off with a GIF montage of himself taking a swing at a golf ball and knocking out his erstwhile Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2017
A senior Democrat, US representative Adam Schiff, said the retweet was disturbing.
“It is distressing … to have a president that frankly will tweet and retweet things as juvenile as that,” Schiff said on ABC’s This Week programme. “It doesn’t help, I think in terms of his stature, it doesn’t help in terms of the stature of our whole country.”
On a much more serious note on Sunday, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said the UN Security Council has run out of options on containing North Korea’s nuclear programme and the US may have to turn to the Pentagon.
US mulls military option over North Korea
“We have pretty much exhausted all the things that we can do at the Security Council at this point,” Haley told CNN’s State of the Union.
Haley added she was perfectly happy to hand the matter to Defence Secretary James Mattis.
“We’re trying every other possibility that we have but there’s a whole lot of military options on the table,” she said.
US National Security Adviser HR McMaster said Kim is “going to have to give up his nuclear weapons because the president has said he’s not going to tolerate this regime threatening the United States and our citizens with a nuclear weapon”.
Asked if that meant Trump would launch a military strike against North Korea, McMaster said “he’s been very clear about that, that all options are on the table”.
Kim has threatened Guam, a US territory in the Pacific, and has fired two missiles over Japan, a US ally in Asia, including one missile launched on Friday. North Korea also recently tested its most powerful nuclear bomb yet.
Mattis said earlier this month, after Kim tested the hydrogen bomb, the US will answer any threat from the North with a “massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming”.
Trump has threatened to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea. Haley said that wasn’t an empty threat from the president but, when asked, she declined to describe the president’s intentions.
“If North Korea keeps on with this reckless behavior, if the United States has to defend itself or defend its allies in any way, North Korea will be destroyed and we all know that and none of us want that,” Haley said.
“None of us want war. But we also have to look at the fact that you are dealing with someone who is being reckless, irresponsible, and is continuing to give threats not only to the United States, but to all their allies, so something is going to have to be done.”
North Korea: Are we on the brink of war? – UpFront
Source: News agencies