N.Korea calls Trump 'erratic' old man

President Trump has warned North Korea's Kim he risks losing everything if he doesn't denuclearise.
President Trump has warned North Korea's Kim he risks losing everything if he doesn't denuclearise.

North Korea has insulted US President Donald Trump again, calling him a "heedless and erratic old man" after he tweeted that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would not want to abandon a special relationship between the two leaders and affect the American presidential election by resuming hostile acts.

A senior North Korean official, former nuclear negotiator Kim Yong-chol, said in a statement on Monday his country would not cave in to US pressure because it has nothing to lose and accused the Trump administration of attempting to buy time ahead of an end-of-year deadline set by Kim Jong-un for Washington to salvage nuclear talks.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted: "Kim Jong-un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way ... North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong-un, has tremendous economic potential, but it must denuclearise as promised."

He was referring to a vague statement issued by the two leaders during their first summit in Singapore in June 2018 that called for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when or how it would occur.

Trump said Kim "does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the US presidential election in November".

Kim Yong-chol said Trump's tweets clearly showed he was an irritated old man "bereft of patience".

"As (Trump) is such a heedless and erratic old man, the time when we cannot but call him a 'dotard' again may come," Kim Yong-chol said.

"Trump has too many things that he does not know about (North Korea). We have nothing more to lose. Though the US may take away anything more from us, it can never remove the strong sense of self-respect, might and resentment against the US from us."

Nuclear negotiations faltered after a February meeting between Trump and Kim in Vietnam broke down when the US side rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.

Kim has said North Korea will seek a "new way" if the US maintains its sanctions and pressure, and issued the deadline for the Trump administration to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal.

Trump and Kim met for a third time in June at the border between the two Koreas and agreed to resume talks.

But an October working-level meeting in Sweden broke down over what the North Koreans described as the Americans' "old stance and attitude".

On Sunday, North Korea said a "very important test" was conducted at a long-range rocket facility on the country's western coast, touching off speculation Pyongyang could have tested a new rocket engine for either a satellite-launch vehicle or a solid-fuel intercontinental-range missile.

Australian Associated Press