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Trump derides North Korea's leader as 'Rocket Man'

 (Korean Central News Agency)
(Korean Central News Agency)

With tensions running high over North Korea, President Trump on Sunday mocked its mercurial leader, Kim Jong Un, referring to him as “Rocket Man.”

Trump, who is spending the weekend at his New Jersey golf property, said on Twitter that he had spoken Saturday evening with South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, and that the two had discussed Pyongyang’s latest actions, including the firing of two missiles that overflew Japan and a test detonation of the North's most powerful nuclear device yet.

The White House was more circumspect in a readout of the call, saying that in their conversation, Trump and Moon had “committed to continuing to take steps to strengthen deterrence and defense capabilities.”

Meanwhile, national security advisor H.R. McMaster said on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump was determined to contain the threat posed by North Korea. Of Kim, he said: “He is going to have to give up his nuclear weapons, because the president has said that he is not going to tolerate this regime threatening the United States and our citizens with a nuclear weapon.”

Asked whether that meant Trump was contemplating a strike against North Korea, McMaster said: “He’s been very clear about that – that all options are on the table.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, however, emphasized that military action would be a last resort. Interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” he said the Trump administration’s strategy centered on a “peaceful pressure campaign” against Kim’s government.

“If our diplomatic efforts fail, though, our military option will be the only one left,” Tillerson said.

North Korea is expected to be a major topic as the United Nations General Assembly holds its annual session this week.

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