Donald Trump is under fire once again.

The United States President responded to a speech on Monday by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in which he said that the US mainland is in the range of the country’s nuclear weapons.

In his New Year’s address, Mr Kim added:

...and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office.

They should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality.

Mr Trump taunted the North Korean leader in a response on Twitter.

He said:

The tweet is the latest in the increasingly personalised feud between the two nuclear-armed leaders.

Mr Trump’s latest tweet is also a reminder that any US President has access to nuclear arms and that the US has the largest arsenal in the world.

While analysts agree that Pyongyang has nuclear weapons, it is not clear whether it has the capabilities as claimed by Kim in his address.

Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly was quick to express alarm at the apparent light-hearted use of nuclear threats by the two leaders:

Mr Kelly is the husband of former congresswoman Gabriela Giffords and also served as pilot in the US navy.

His comment was retweeted over 17,000 times and respondents expressed similar views:

Tom Plant, Director of Proliferation and Nuclear Policy at The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) told indy100 that nuclear threats and weapons are "not to be taken lightly."

He said that Mr Kim was treating nuclear weapons "without the respect they deserve" and that Mr Trump's latest tweet was a continuation of "froth" in the "unusual" messaging between Mr Trump and Mr Kim.

He said:

What's more worrying is that although North Korea would want to get a rise out of Trump, because his reactions are concerning to allies and therefore act to push them apart,

this episode shows that they don't even need to try, that he can do it all by himself. 

Mr Plant added that he wondered if North Korea would respond to Mr Trump's claims that its nuclear arms 'don't work.'

HT Washington Press

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