Donald Trump has “lit the wick of the war,” North Korea’s foreign minister warned Wednesday.
Speaking to Russian state news agency Tass, Ri Yong Ho said Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea during his U.N. speech in September had crossed a line.
“With his bellicose and insane statement at the United Nations, Trump, you can say, has lit the wick of a war against us,” Ri said.
“We need to settle the final score, only with a hail of fire, not words,” the diplomat added.
On Wednesday Trump confirmed the cryptic remarks he made last week about a coming “storm” referred to North Korea.
At a gathering of military leaders on Oct. 5, Trump said the gathering represented the “calm before the storm,” prompting speculation about a surprise military strike against one of America’s adversaries.
Asked what he meant during a Fox News interview Wednesday, Trump said, “We can’t let this … go on. We just can’t.” He then credited China for helping to pressure Pyongyang.
“They cut off banking to North Korea — that’s something they’ve never done before,” Trump told conservative political commentator Sean Hannity.
Trump also blamed previous administrations for failing to neutralize the North Korean threat.
“This should have been handled 25 years ago, it should have been handled 20 years ago, and 10 years ago, and five years ago,” he said. “Not just Obama, but certainly President Obama should have taken care of it. Now it’s at a point where it’s very, very far advanced.”
Trump also referenced North Korea during an appearance with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House Wednesday, describing his own approach to Pyongyang as “tougher” than others.
“I think I have a little bit of a different attitude on North Korea than other people might have. And I listen to everybody, but ultimately, my attitude is the one that matters, isn’t it?” Trump said.
“That’s the way it works. That’s the way the system is.”