SEOUL -- A top North Korean diplomat on Thursday slammed U.S. President Donald Trump for suggesting the possibility of military action against the regime, calling him a "dotard" as it did in a war of words two years ago.
"If any language and expressions stoking the atmosphere of confrontation are used once again on purpose at a crucial moment as now, that must really be diagnosed as the relapse of the dotage of a dotard," said Choe Son Hui, first vice minister of foreign affairs.
Choe expressed a hope that Trump's comments were a "verbal lapse" but said Pyongyang would retaliate against any deliberate provocation. She also criticized Trump's lack of courtesy to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump had called Kim "Rocket Man" earlier this week, saying he "definitely likes sending rockets up."
"Now we have the most powerful military we've ever had, and we're by far the most powerful country in the world," Trump said. "And, hopefully, we don't have to use it, but if we do, we'll use it."
Trump famously used the "Rocket Man" nickname in a September 2017 speech to the United Nations General Assembly, at the peak of bilateral tensions. Kim slapped back with the "dotard" label for Trump in a statement a few days later.