North Korea mocks Trump: He's terrified

North Korea fires back at Trump, after he slammed rights abuses in the country in his State of the Union address.

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Ben Ariel,

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un

North Korea on Sunday hit back at U.S. President Donald Trump, after he slammed rights abuses in the country in his State of the Union address last week.

Pyongyang described the speech as "screams of Trump terrified" by the North's power, reported AFP.

In the address, Trump criticized the "cruel dictatorship" of Kim Jong-Un and the leader's "reckless pursuit" of atomic weapons while vowing to wage "a campaign of maximum pressure" to derail the nuclear threat.

Trump also lashed out at widespread human rights abuses under the regime and highlighted the case of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died last year shortly after being released from a 17-month-long detention in North Korea.

A spokesperson of the North's foreign ministry on Sunday said the speech reflected "the height of Trump-style arrogance, arbitrariness and self-conceit," in a statement carried by the state-run KCNA news agency and quoted by AFP.

"Trump also insisted upon the 'maximum pressure' against our country, viciously slandering our most superior people-centered social system," the statement added.

"However, it is no less than screams of Trump terrified at the power of the DPRK that has achieved the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force and rapidly emerged as the strategic state recognized by the world," it said, using the North's official name.

The reaction to Trump's speech comes amid continued tensions between the North Korea and the U.S.

Last year, North Korea tested ICBMs that had the potential range of reaching the United States mainland. Most recently, it launched a Hwasong-15 missile, a new type of ICBM which officials said can fly over 13,000 km (8,080 miles).

Pyongyang said following that launch as well that that it had test-fired its most advanced missile, putting the U.S. mainland within range, and also declared itself to be "a responsible nuclear power".

Also in his address, Trump honored Ji Seong-Ho, a North Korean defector with only one arm and one leg who made a dramatic, 6,000-mile journey to the South after suffering severe discrimination and torture at home.

The North claimed Trump's comment revealed a "sinister intention to do something against us by relying on strength while talking about 'American resolve.'"

"If Trump does not get rid of his anachronistic and dogmatic way of thinking, it will only bring about the consequence of further endangering security and future of the United States," the foreign ministry said, according to AFP.

Kim and Trump have traded colorful personal barbs against each other in the wake of Kim's declaration that his country is now a nuclear power.

Kim claimed earlier this month that his country has developed the capability to hit the entire U.S. mainland with its nuclear weapons.

“The entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, and a nuclear button is always on my desk. This is reality, not a threat,” the North Korean leader said in a televised New Year’s Day speech.

Trump then tweeted in response, “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ 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!”

Despite the back-and-forth between the two, in a move that seemed aimed at easing tensions and after months of persuasion from Seoul, the North last month said it would send its athletes to the Winter Olympics, due to kick off in the South on Friday.

North Korea also recently sent a rare announcement addressed to “all Koreans at home and abroad”, saying they should make a “breakthrough” for unification without the help of other countries.