North Korea's foreign minister has described President Donald Trump's threat to destroy his country as "the sound of a dog barking."
The comments are the North's first response to Trump's debut speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, during which he vowed to "totally destroy North Korea" if provoked. Trump also called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "Rocket man."
The North's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York late Wednesday that "It would be a dog's dream if he intended to scare us with the sound of a dog barking."
South Korean TV footage also showed Ri saying he feels "sorry for his aides" when he was asked about Trump's "Rocket man" comments. Ri was to give a speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, according to Yonhap news agency.
Trump has unleashed many strong statements on North Korea including his August warning the North will be met with "fire and fury." The North has responded by a slew of weapons tests and warlike and often-mocking rhetoric against Trump. A top North Korean general called Trump's "fire and fury" threats "a load of nonsense" let out by "a guy bereft of reason."
The rhetorical battle came as outside experts say North Korea is getting closer to achieve its long-stated goal of building nuclear-armed missiles capable hitting anywhere in the U.S. mainland.
Also on Thursday, China issued a warning about escalating tensions.
"We call on all parties to be calmer than calm and not let the situation escalate out of control," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, according to the Reuters news agency.
Earlier this month, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date and it was subsequently slapped with fresh, tough U.N. sanctions. North Korea later fired a ballistic missile over Japan and the U.S. military flew powerful bombers and stealth fighter jets over the Korean Peninsula and near Japan in a show of force against the North.
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