US President Donald Trump and his administration are "begging for nuclear war," North Korea's Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
Trump is "staging an extremely dangerous nuclear gamble on the Korean peninsula," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a written statement that also calls Trump a "nuclear demon" and a "disruptor of global peace."
The comments came ahead of a joint US-South Korean military drill, scheduled to begin Monday. About 12,000 US military personnel and 230 planes are expected to participate in the drill, known as Vigilant Ace.
North Korean officials made similar comments last month. A furious commentary published in a state-run newspaper said Trump had displayed his "true colors as an old lunatic, mean trickster and human reject" during his visit to the Korean Peninsula.
Days later, Trump placed North Korea on the list of state sponsors of terrorism; the country was removed from that list in 2008 by George W. Bush.
The North's latest statement also comes days after North Korea test-fired a brand new intercontinental ballistic missile, which experts said shows a major advance in technology and threat.
Trump vows sanctions after missile launch
After the missile was tested, Trump tweeted Wednesday that "additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea." The United States has been trying to get other countries, especially China, to squeeze North Korea's economy to make Kim back down from developing his country's nuclear weapons program.
After this week's launch, a North Korean official told CNN Pyongyang was not interested in diplomacy with the US until it had fully demonstrated its nuclear deterrent capabilities.
Reiterating past remarks, the official said one step was to conduct an above-ground nuclear detonation or "large-scale hydrogen bomb" test. The other was the "testing of a long-range ICBM," the implication being this had been achieved with the most recent launch.
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