Trump says he would never call Kim Jong Un 'short and fat'

US President Donald Trump (left) has said he would never call North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "short and fat". PHOTOS: EPA-EFE, REUTERS

HANOI (AFP, Reuters) - US President Donald Trump has said he would never call Kim Jong Un "short and fat", after months of trading personal insults and threats of war with the North Korean leader.

"Why would Kim Jong Un insult me by calling me 'old,' when I would NEVER call him 'short and fat?' Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!" Trump tweeted from Hanoi, the latest leg on his marathon tour of Asia.

Mr Trump also tweeted that Chinese leader Xi Jinping had agreed to toughen sanctions against North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

"President Xi of China has stated that he is upping the sanctions against (North Korea)," Trump tweeted from Hanoi. He travelled to Vietnam from Beijing where he had sought Beijing's help to tackle the North Korean problem.

China has made no sanctions announcement in recent days, and it was unclear if Trump was referring to statements Xi may have made during their summit in Beijing on Thursday, or when they met at Apec in Danang.

On Saturday (Nov 11), Pyongyang hit back, calling Trump's Asia trip "a warmonger's visit for confrontation" and saying it would only serve to accelerate Pyongyang's push for nuclear statehood.

North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes have been a sticking point between Beijing and Washington, with the US wanting China to do more to rein in Pyongyang but Beijing reluctant to take measures that could destabilise its impoverished neighbour and close ally.

Mr Trump has shown more restraint in his comments on North Korea during his Asia trip which started in Japan on Nov 5. In a speech in Seoul, he offered North Korea a path "to a much better future" while also calling on countries including China and Russia to do their part in isolating the secretive regime.

In China. the third leg of his 12-day Asia visit, Mr Trump told the media he and the Chinese leader discussed "mutual commitment to the complete denuclearisation of North Korea".

Mr Xi affirmed this, showing the two sides shared the same goal of a Korean peninsula without nuclear weapons.

The Chinese leader also said the two sides would continue to "fully and strictly" implement UNSC resolutions and work towards a solution "through dialogue and negotiation". He added that the two sides will maintain communication and cooperation on the Korean peninsula.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim have been engaged in an exchange of increasingly bellicose rhetoric in recent months.

In September, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the UN General Assembly that targeting the U.S. mainland with its rockets was inevitable after "Mr. Evil President" Trump called Pyongyang's leader a "rocket man" on a suicide mission.

His tweet came two days after Mr Kim, in an unprecedented direct statement, described Mr Trump as a "mentally deranged US dotard" whom he would tame with fire.

Mr Kim also called Trump a "rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician".

Pyongyang's fiery response on Sept 21 comes hours after Trump signed an executive order that aims to expand his authority to target people and institutions doing business with North Korea. The measure seeks to cut off North Korea's access to funding and deter its nuclear and missile programme.

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