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rocket man
November 16, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended an inspection of what state media there is describing as an "ultramodern tactical weapon," The Washington Post reports Friday.

This is the first time North Korea has publicly announced a weapons test since November 2017, CBS News reports, while noting that this does not appear to be a nuclear device or a long-range missile; the country previously said it would suspend its nuclear and missile tests. A military expert told CBS News that a "tactical weapon" in North Korea would refer to a "weapon aimed at striking South Korea, including U.S. military bases." An anonymous South Korean government official told CNN that it's likely a "multiple rocket launcher;" a South Korean-based researcher told CNN it's probably not a missile, though, as South Korea would have detected that.

Since President Trump participated in a summit with Kim Jong Un earlier this year, North Korea has demanded sanctions against them be lifted, and a North Korean Foreign Ministry official recently said Kim could start "building up nuclear forces" if the U.S. doesn't do so, CNN reports. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday said Trump and Kim will meet again in 2019 even without North Korea providing a list of its nuclear weapons and missile sites, though Pence said it's "imperative" for the U.S. to come away from this second summit with a "plan for dismantling nuclear weapons." North Korea's state media said Friday that Kim was could barely contain his "passionate joy" after the successful weapons test, The Washington Post reports. Brendan Morrow

September 19, 2017

President Trump threatened to "totally destroy North Korea" and recycled his Elton John-inspired nickname for leader Kim Jong Un in a speech before the United Nations on Tuesday. "Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime," Trump said. "The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That's what the United Nations is all about. That's what the United Nations is for. Let's see how they do."

Trump had originally branded Kim as "Rocket Man" in a tweet that The Washington Post claimed "even some of Trump's critics had to admit" was clever. Others frowned at the reference being made Tuesday in such a serious setting and framed by such chilling threats:

Watch Trump's comments below. Jeva Lange

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