A senior North Korean official said on Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump's recent remarks on military force and the North's leader Kim Jong-un will be a "very dangerous challenge" if they were not made in error.
North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui issued the warning in a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
Choe's warning came days after Trump indicated military force would be employed against North Korea if necessary and revived his "Rocket Man" nickname for Kim.
Choe said it would be fortunate if Trump's remarks were simply an "instantaneous verbal lapse," but the matter becomes different if they were a planned provocation targeting North Korea.
The senior official then said that North Korea will respond with its own harsh language if Trump repeats similar phrases and shows that he is intentionally provoking North Korea.
She said that if any language or expressions stoking the atmosphere of confrontation are used once again, that must really be diagnosed as the relapse of the "dotage of a dotard."
In an infamous war of words in 2017, Trump called Kim "Little Rocket Man" and threatened to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea, and Kim said he would "tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”
Choe's remarks came a day after senior North Korean Army official Pak Jong-chon lashed out at Trump, saying in a statement that Pyongyang will take "prompt corresponding action at any level" if the U.S. uses force against the North.