Taunts by Trump and Kim Jong

North Korea and his wife

Put aside for a moment the name-calling-"Rocket Man" from Donald Trump earlier this week, "mentally deranged USA dotard" from Kim Jong Un in comments released Friday.

The comments came as US Air Force bombers escorted by fighter jets flew in global airspace over waters east of North Korea.

Trump responded to Kim's threats on Twitter on Friday morning, calling him a "madman" who "will be tested like never before". In their statements, Trump and Kim combined insults with threats.

Hours later, North Korea's foreign minister, citing that "highest level" phrase from Kim, told reporters in NY that Kim might have been signaling a plan to conduct a test of a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific.

The White house likewise has announced that the Trump Administration and President Trump himself have been briefed on the most current and malevolent actions taken by the North Koreans.

Kim's statement was unusual because it was written in the first person.

In Hawaii, state lawmakers have been urging emergency management officials to update Cold War-era plans for coping with a nuclear attack.

It is unusual for the North Korean leader to issue such a statement in his own name. "The U.S. describes the DPRK's nuclear deterrence for self-defense as the 'biggest threat to peace, ' but it is no more than a shameful logic and a brigandish deed to justify its crimes against peace on the Korean Peninsula".

Vipin Narang, a nuclear expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said this would be worse than testing a longer range for an intercontinental ballistic missile, which is another scenario the North may be considering.

Japan's defense minister Itsunori Onodera said the country must ready itself for the sudden escalation in tensions and be prepared for a missile launch. He said the action "was a somewhat unexpected move and we appreciate it".

But the country's natural disaster monitoring centre later went on the say a magnitude 3.4 quake was not the result of a fresh missile test. "It is truly terrifying if something goes wrong", he added.

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The moves follow the adoption of a unanimous United Nations security council agreement on sanctions after North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on 3 September. French Sports Minister Laura Flessel said France's team would not travel to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea if its security could not be guaranteed.

The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

Trump called the North Korean leader a "madman" on Friday (Saturday NZ time), a day after Kim dubbed him a "mentally deranged United States dotard" who would face the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" in retaliation for Trump saying the U.S. would "totally destroy" North Korea if it threatened the USA or its allies.

He ended by saying he would "surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire".

Kim characterized the USA president's speech to the world body as "unprecedented rude nonsense".

Trump said Thursday he will ramp up economic pressure on North Korea by signing an executive order that cracks down on anyone who does business with the hermit nation.

China has been North Korea's top ally for decades, and now accounts for an estimated 90 percent of the country's trade.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said: "All relevant sides should exercise restraint and dedicate themselves to easing the situation rather than irritating each other".

He didn't provide any clear answer, only saying that China is strictly and accurately implementing the U.N. Security Council's resolutions.

China, North Korea's largest trading partner and last major diplomatic ally, has cut off imports of coal, iron ore, seafood and other goods from North Korea in line with United Nations sanctions.

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