North Korea ridicules Trump’s threat as ‘sound of a dog barking’
Foreign minister says he ‘feels sorry’ for US president’s aides after fiery UN speech
Donald Trump’s threat before the United Nations to destroy North Korea was merely “the sound of a dog barking”, the country’s foreign minister has said, the latest salvo in a bitter war of words over the Korean missile crisis.
“If he was thinking he could scare us with the sound of a dog barking, that’s really a dog dream,” Ri Yong-ho told reporters after he arrived in New York for the UN General Assembly.
The South Korean news agency Yonhap explained that in Korean a dog dream makes little sense, and there is a proverb that says “the procession goes on even if a dog is barking”.
In Mr Trump’s maiden address at the UN he vowed to “totally destroy North Korea” and described North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “Rocket Man”.
Asked to comment about Mr Trump’s nickname for the North Korean leader, Mr Ri said: “I feel sorry for his aides.”
There is growing international pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme after it conducted its sixth nuclear test on September 3rd and launched a series of ballistic missiles, including two over Japan.
Mr Ri is due to address the UN on Friday and will meet UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres on Saturday. The UN Security Council voted to adopt the ninth set of sanctions against North Korea last week, including a cap on oil imports.
In his address to the UN, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said the time for talking was over and he urged all member states to block North Korea’s access to “the goods, funds, people and technology” necessary for its nuclear and missile development programmes.
He said history had shown that attempts at dialogue with the North “have all come to naught”.
Meanwhile, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said the Korean nuclear crisis was getting grimmer every day and must not be permitted to spiral out of control.
“The situation on the Korean Peninsula is getting increasingly grave,” Mr Wang told his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel at the UN, the Xinhua news agency reported.
“China has always favoured a peaceful solution. In the absence of dialogue and negotiations, there can be no solution through sanctions and pressure alone,” the official state agency quoted him as saying.
China has proposed an initiative called “suspension-for-suspension”, whereby North Korea would suspend its nuclear and missile activities and the US and its ally South Korea would suspend its large-scale war games.
For its part, the US has encouraged a policy of “Four Nos” – no regime change in Pyongyang, no regime collapse, no accelerated reunification and no military deployment north of the 38th parallel dividing the Korean Peninsula.
Chinese media said Mr Trump’s rhetoric reduced the chance of peace on the Korean Peninsula.
“Trump’s political chest-thumping is unhelpful, and it will only push the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] to pursue even riskier polices, because the survival of the regime is at stake,” ran a commentary in the English-language edition of the official People’s Daily newspaper.