SEOUL/UNITED NATIONS • US President Donald Trump dialled up the rhetoric against North Korea again at the weekend, warning its foreign minister that he and leader Kim Jong Un "won't be around much longer", as Pyongyang staged a major anti-US rally.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the United Nations General Assembly last Saturday that targeting the United States mainland with its rockets was inevitable after "Mr Evil President" Trump called Pyongyang's leader a "rocket man" on a suicide mission.
"Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at UN. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!" Mr Trump said on Twitter late last Saturday.
Mr Trump and Mr Kim have traded increasingly threatening and personal insults as Pyongyang races towards its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the US - something Mr Trump has vowed to prevent.
Analysts say the escalation in rhetoric is increasing the risk of a miscalculation by one side or the other, which could have massive repercussions.
North Korea's state-run broadcaster KRT aired a video yesterday showing tens of thousands of people attending an anti-US rally at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang.
The North's official KCNA news agency said more than 100,000 people gathered for the rally last Saturday and delivered speeches supporting comments made by Mr Kim earlier in the week.
THE END MIGHT BE NIGH
Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at UN. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!
US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, who tweeted fresh threats against North Korea.
"We are waiting for the right time to have a final battle with the US, the evil empire, and to remove the US from the world," KCNA quoted Mr Ri Il Bae, a commanding officer of the Red Guards, as saying. "Once respected supreme commander Kim Jong Un gives an order, we will annihilate the group of aggressors."
In an unprecedented direct statement last Friday, Mr Kim described the US President as a "mentally deranged US dotard" whom he would tame with fire.
Mr Kim said the North would consider the "highest level of hardline countermeasure in history" against the US and that Mr Trump's comments had confirmed his nuclear programme was "the correct path".
Mr Kim's comments came after Mr Trump threatened in his maiden UN address last Thursday to "totally destroy" the country of 26 million people.
North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear bomb test on Sept 3, prompting another round of UN sanctions. Its foreign minister has warned that Pyongyang might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.
TRUMP WILL BE RESPONSIBLE
None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission. In case innocent lives of the US are harmed because of this suicide attack, Trump will be held totally responsible.
NORTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER RI YONG HO, in a speech to the UN General Assembly.
Hours after the threat, US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers, escorted by fighters, flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea in a show of force that the Pentagon said indicated the range of military options available to Mr Trump.
The US bombers' flight last Saturday was the farthest north of the demilitarised zone separating North and South Korea that any US fighter jet or bomber had flown in the 21st century, the Pentagon said.
The patrols came after officials and experts said a small quake near the North's nuclear test site last Saturday was probably not man-made, easing fears that Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb just weeks after its previous one.
A watchdog and other experts say the shallow 3.5-magnitude quake is likely an aftershock from the Sept 3 nuclear test.