Donald Trump says that the US is ready with a "military option" to end the escalating crisis with North Korea that would be devastating for Pyongyang.
"We are totally prepared for the second option, not a preferred option," Mr Trump said at a White House news conference alongside Spain's prime minister. "But if we take that option, it will be devastating, I can tell you that, devastating for North Korea. That's called the military option. If we have to take it, we will."
The President proceeded to say that North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho - who said over the week end that it was "inevitable" that North Korean rockets would hit the US mainland - was acting "very badly, saying things that should never be said." In addition to musing on the likelihood of a North Korean missile strike on US soil, Mr Ri also claimed recently that Mr Trump had issued a declaration of war in tweeting that North Korean leaders "won't be around much longer" if they keep on threatening the US.
"The whole word should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country," Mr Ri told reporters in New York, responding to the tweet.
Mr Trump's threats Tuesday are just the latest in a series of insults hurled between him and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The President gave a particularly feisty speech during his first address to the United Nations General Assembly last week, calling Mr Kim "Rocket Man", and saying he was on a "suicide mission". Mr Kim followed up by calling Mr Trump a "dotard" - a phrase used to describe an elderly, senile person - and a "frightened dog".
"I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire," Mr Kim said in an unprecedented statement addressing a foreign leader.