3 Jan 2018

My nuclear button's bigger than yours, says Trump

2:36 pm on 3 January 2018

US President Donald Trump says his nuclear launch button is bigger than North Korea's and "actually works", in a response to a speech by leader Kim Jong Un.

No caption

Photo: AFP

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on New Year's Day warned the United States that he has a "nuclear button" on his desk ready for use if North Korea is threatened, but he also offered an olive branch to South Korea, saying he is "open to dialogue" with Seoul.

President Trump tweeted in response today, for someone from his "depleted and food starved regime" to inform Kim that "I too have Nuclear button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

Trump followed the tweet about his big button with another saying he would announce the "MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR" later today.

After a year dominated by fiery rhetoric and escalating tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, Kim used his televised New Year's Day speech to call for lower military tensions on the Korean peninsula and improved ties with the South.

"When it comes to North-South relations, we should lower the military tensions on the Korean Peninsula to create a peaceful environment," Kim said. "Both the North and the South should make efforts."

North Korea tested intercontinental ballistic missiles and conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September in defiance of international warnings and sanctions, raising fears of a new conflict on the Korean peninsula.

After testing what Pyongyang said was its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of delivering a warhead to anywhere in the continental United States, at the end of November, Kim declared his nuclear force complete.

He continued that theme in his New Year's address, announcing that North Korea would focus on "mass producing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for operational deployment" in the coming year.

This, Kim said, made it impossible for the United States to start a war against North Korea.

"The entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, and a nuclear button is always on my desk. This is reality, not a threat," he said, while emphasizing that "these weapons will be used only if our security is threatened."

- RNZ / Reuters

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs