“It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific,” Ri said, as quoted by South Korean agency Yonhap.
However, the official then added he is not aware of what exactly Kim intends to do in response to Trump’s saber-rattling, as the governmental decision is solely the leader’s responsibility.
The latest round of war of words between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership risks escalating into yet another show of force by Pyongyang, as it allegedly weighs the option of testing an H-bomb, according to a suggestion made by Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The suggestion came as Ri was asked to clarify the latest statement by the North Korean leader in which Kim vowed to get revenge against Trump for insulting him and his country “in front of eyes of the world” by threatening “to destroy” North Korea.
In a statement issued by North Korean state-run agency KCNA on Friday, Kim said he “will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding highest level of hardline countermeasure in history,” while promising that the US will “pay dearly” for Trump’s remarks at the UN General Assembly.
Kim then assured that “whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation.”
Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend US or its allies, but the statement was criticized not only by Pyongyang, but also by a number of prominent progressive US organizations and some of Washington’s partners, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“I’m against such threats,” Merkel said Wednesday, urging Trump to focus on diplomatic ways of resolving the unraveling crisis while describing a military solution as “totally inappropriate.”
Trump, in contrast with previous US leaders, also directed some personal jabs at Kim, calling him a “rocket man” on a “suicide mission for himself.”
Denouncing the remark, Kim argued that by getting personal Trump “made unprecedented rude nonsense one has never heard from any of his predecessors” instead of using a UN platform to ease the tension.
Kim followed up with an insult of his own Thursday, calling Trump a “mentally deranged US dotard,” threatening to make Trump “pay dearly” for his words and adding that “his remarks… have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.”
Meanwhile Trump on Thursday said that the United States would roll out new sanctions against North Korea, hinting at a new travel ban.
If Kim decides to proceed with the hydrogen bomb test, it will be the second time in just a month Pyongyang tested such a weapon.
On September 3, the country claimed to have carried out its first H-bomb test, hailing it as a “perfect success” and a “meaningful” step further into the development of the nuclear program. The state media reported at the time that it allegedly could be mounted on an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), although this capability has been disputed outside North Korea.