U.S. President Donald Trump has responded to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's boast that he has a "nuclear button" on his desk by warning that the United States has a "bigger and more powerful" nuclear trigger.
"North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times'," Trump tweeted on January 2.
"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 his annual New Year's address had warned he had what he called a "nuclear button" on his desk and weapons that he claimed can reach all of the United States, but he said he would only use the weapons if Pyongyang's security was threatened.
"This is a reality, not a threat," Kim said, while he also extended an invitation to South Korea to restart talks and said his country was interested in taking part in the Pyeongchang Games next month.
Trump said he was skeptical about any reopening of talks between the two sides, but South Korea responded positively by proposing high-level talks with Pyongyang on January 9.
If the meeting goes ahead, it would be the first time the two sides have met in more than two years.
Meanwhile, North Korea on January 3 reopened a cross-border hotline with South Korea, a further sign of a thawing in relations between the rivals.
The communication link, which had not been used since 2016 because of an intensifying dispute over the North’s nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, was reestablished at the border village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone on January 3.
"I believe it signals a move toward an environment where communication will be possible at all times," South Korean presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan said.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, Yonhap, and dpa