North Korea’s top diplomat compared President Donald Trump’s threats to “totally destroy” his country to the “sound of a dog barking.”
In his first address before the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York, Trump made divisive comments about how he would handle North Korea if the United States or its allies were attacked. North Korea has been ramping up its ballistic missile tests in recent months.
But North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho seemed unfazed by Trump’s sharp language.
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"There is a saying that marching goes on even when dogs bark," he told reporters who swarmed him as he was entering his hotel Wednesday night, Aljazeera reported.
North Korea has stated it is trying to develop a missile capable of targeting the U.S. mainland and has made strides in miniaturized weapons technology. In September it reportedly tested a miniaturized hydrogen bomb able to be fitted to a rocket.
Sanctions against North Korea have not deterred its missile program and continued testing has angered Trump, who started using the Elton John-inspired nickname "Rocket Man" to describe North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a tweet last weekend.
“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!” Trump tweeted on Sunday.
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
Trump repeated the nickname on Tuesday in remarks to the U.N. General Assembly.
“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” Trump said. “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
When asked for his reaction to Trump’s nickname for Kim, the North Korean foreign minister said, “I feel sorry for his aides.”
It is highly unusual for a U.S. leader to openly threaten destruction on another country before the U.N. and Trump’s language visibly shocked world leaders.
Ri Yong Ho, however showed no fear.
“If they thought they could scare us with the sound of a dog barking, that is a silly dream,” he said.