On Saturday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho addressed the general debate of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
His speech came days after U.S. President Donald J. Trump used the same platform to threaten to “totally destroy” North Korea should the United States need to defend itself or its allies.
Ri’s address also comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un released an unusual statement through North Korea’s state-run media, addressing Trump’s remarks in the first-person and threatening to “tame” the U.S. leader.
The foreign minister’s address was a rebuttal of sorts to Trump’s address, defending North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
Ri told world leaders that his country was “only a few steps away from the final gate of completion of the state’s nuclear force.”
Rebuking recent sanctions resolutions at the United Nations Security Council, he added that there was no “chance that North Korea would be shaken an inch or change its stance due to the harsher sanctions by the hostile forces.”
Turning to Trump, Ri used the U.S. president’s own words to criticize him. Where Trump had said Kim Jong-un was on a “suicide mission,” Ri instead alleged that it was Trump who was on a “suicide mission.”
“Due to his lacking of basic common knowledge and proper sentiment, he tried to insult the supreme dignity of my country by referring it to a rocket,” Ri said. “By doing so however, he committed an irreversible mistake of making our rocket’s visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable all the more,” he added.
Matching Kim Jong-un’s words, Ri called Trump a “mentally deranged person full of megalomania.”
“Trump might not have been aware what is uttered from his mouth, but we will make sure that he bears consequences far beyond his words, far beyond the scope of what he can handle even if he is ready to do so,” Ri added.
“The U.S. claims that the DPRK’s possession of H-bomb and ICBM constitutes a global threat, even at the U.N. arena,” Ri continued.
“But such claim is (sic) a big lie which is just tantamount to the notorious big lie faked up by the U.S. in 2003 about the existence of weapons in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction in order to invade that country.”
Ri additionally defended North Korea’s nuclear status by claiming it was a “responsible” nuclear state and that it did not seek the approval or recognition of its nuclear status by any country.
Following his address, Ri met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who expressed concern “over the tensions on the Korean Peninsula and appealed for de-escalation and full implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions,” according to a UN statement.