After tweeting on Friday that North Korea was behaving “very badly,” President Trump escalated his rhetoric toward Pyongyang on Sunday, saying that it was acting “very, very badly.”
The move comes after North Korea claimed that it had tested a new high thrust rocket engine on Saturday, the latest in a number of missile launches since Trump won the U.S. election.
“He’s acting very very badly,” Trump reportedly said of Kim Jon Un, according to a White House pool report. The President also said that he had discussed North Korea’s missile launches during weekend meetings at his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he has spent more than a quarter of his presidency. It is unclear in which meetings or with whom the discussions took place. Trump has been known to discuss business with guests as he ventures around his club on weekends.
According to the North Korean state-controlled news agency which first reported the rocket tests, Kim Jong Un said that the “whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who visited South Korea and China in the past few days, denounced North Korea’s missile launches earlier this week, warning that the U.S. was prepared to escalate its approach toward the North if it does not reduce its aggressive maneuvers.
“Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures. All options are on the table,” Tillerson told a news conference in Seoul.
“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table,” he said when asked about military action.
Prior to his remarks on Sunday, Trump had followed up Tillerson’s comments by tweeting, “North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!”
North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been "playing" the United States for years. China has done little to help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2017