- President Donald Trump responded to a new threat from North Korea late Tuesday, touting what he called his “bigger & more powerful” nuclear button.
- During a televised speech on New Year’s Day, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said a nuclear button was “always on my desk.”
President Donald Trump’s flurry of tweets to kick off the new year lasted into the late evening Tuesday, as he launched another fiery message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,'” Trump tweeted. “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
Kim, in a televised speech on Monday, had spoken of a “nuclear button” that was “always on my desk.”
“This is reality, not a threat,” Kim said. “This year we should focus on mass producing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for operational deployment. These weapons will be used only if our security is threatened.”
Though Trump touted a “nuclear button,” a physical button that a US president can push to initiate a nuclear strike does not appear to exist. Instead, a briefcase – referred to as the “football” – carries authentication codes and is carried by a military aide wherever the president goes.
Trump’s threat comes amid another warning from the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who on Tuesday seemed dismissive of proposed high-level talks between South Korea and North Korea.
“We won’t take any of the talks seriously if they don’t do something to ban all nuclear weapons in North Korea,” Haley said during a press conference. “We consider this to be a very reckless regime, we don’t think we need a Band-Aid, and we don’t think we need to smile and take a picture.”
Though current US officials have panned negotiations between North Korea and South Korea, former US officials – including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – and many analysts appear to have accepted North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and have approved the call for negotiations.
“I can well envision a scenario where they would juxtapose a missile test and as well agree to talk with the South Koreans, which I think would be a good thing,” Clapper said. “It would do a lot, I think, to relax some of the tensions. I think negotiation is the only way ahead here – to me, is no other realistic option.”
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