Washington: US President Donald Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that the he would lose "everything" if he acts in a "hostile" manner, a statement that came shortly after Pyongyang announced that it had carried out a test linked to its ballistic missile programme.
"Kim Jong-un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way," Efe news reported citing Trump as saying in a series of tweets on Sunday.
"He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump continued, referring to the joint declaration in which the two leaders promised to work toward the full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the US Presidential Election in November (2020).
"North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong-Un, has tremendous economic potential, but it must denuclearize as promised. NATO, China, Russia, Japan, and the entire world is unified on this issue," he added.
On other occasions, in response to North Korea's provocations, Trump has used the same strategy: praising Kim personally, calling him "smart" as he did in his Sunday tweet, and promoting the relationship between the two countries while at the same time downplaying the importance of Pyongyang's missile tests.
The test announced by North Korea on Sunday came at its satellite launch facility at Sohae, in northwestern North Korea, and was linked to the country's missile programme, according to a brief statement released by Pyongyang's state-run KCNA news agency.
The test came after North Korea's ambassador to the UN, Kim Song said on Saturday that his country has removed denuclearization from the agenda of the negotiations with Washington, a move that sows additional uncertainty about the viability of the bilateral dialogue, which has already been stalled for months.
Kim Song expressed Pyongyang's frustration with the talks in a communique in which he said that Washington is using the dialogue as a "time-saving trick" designed to favour the nation's domestic political agenda.
From the White House on Saturday, Trump downplayed the importance of the North Korean announcement and said that he would be surprised if Pyongyang acted in an aggressive manner.
North Korea and the US experienced a high point in their bilateral relations last year, but they are now going through a phase of renewed friction, and in recent days they have once again ratcheted up their mutual verbal belligerence.