President Donald Trump taunted Kim Jong Un Tuesday night, bragging about his “Nuclear Button” and how it is “much bigger & more powerful” than the North Korean leader’s.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
This exchange between two nuclear powers came after Kim Jong Un delivered a New Year’s address Monday in which he boasted about North Korea’s nuclear program, saying its missiles could reach the United States and that a nuclear button is "always on the desk of my office."
Kim described this not as a threat but as “reality,” and said he would not use it unless provoked — if “hostile aggression forces” went after the country’s interests. In his speech, Kim also made overtures toward South Korea, suggesting possible talks with North Korea’s neighbors to the South — a move some saw as having the potential to drive a wedge between the US and South Korean alliance.
Trump responded Tuesday evening with his dangerous boast about his nuclear button. Earlier in the day, though, he seemed to welcome the news that North Korea seemed willing to engage with the South, indicating it was a sign of the effectiveness of sanctions and “other” unspecified pressures.
Sanctions and “other” pressures are beginning to have a big impact on North Korea. Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea. Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not - we will see!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
It’s unclear what prompted the Trump’s renewed bellicosity, though this isn’t the first time the president has appeared to threaten nuclear war seemingly on the fly. In August, Trump warned Kim’s nuclear threats would be met with “fire and fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”