Donald Trump has told North Korea it will be met with “fire and fury” if it escalates the nuclear threat it poses.
The US President said the rogue state faced a power “like the world has never seen” after the Washington Post said North Korea has made a breakthrough in its weapons programme.
The newspaper said the regime of Kim Jong Un has successfully made a miniaturised nuclear warhead that can fit inside one of its intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Mr Trump told reporters: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
Referring to Mr Kim, he added: “He has been very threatening beyond a normal statement.
“And as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly, power… the likes of which this world has never been seen before.”
According to Sky News, the President was at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey as he reacted to the Washington Post’s story.
The paper says the claim about the miniaturised weapon is contained in a confidential assessment by America’s Defence Intelligence Agency.
The paper quotes the assessment as saying: “The IC (intelligence community) assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Japan’s defence ministry said it was conceivable that Pyongyang “has already achieved the miniaturisation of nuclear weapons”.
North Korea is believed to be working on extending the reach of its ICBMs to the US mainland by as soon as next year.
US stocks fell after Mr Trump’s comment, with the S&P 500 falling to a session low.
A widely followed measure of stock market anxiety, meanwhile, spiked higher and was on track to close at a one-month high.
Send news and suggestions to email@example.com