Trump calls North Korea's Kim 'a sick puppy'

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on global response to North Korea's latest missile launch (all times local):

6:10 a.m. Thursday

President Donald Trump can't resist taking a dig at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, even when selling tax reform.

After calling the Republican tax plan "rocket fuel" for the American economy, Trump digressed with an aside on "Little Rocket Man," calling Kim "a sick puppy."

Trump drew hoots from the crowd during a tax reform speech in St. Charles, Missouri, with the impromptu shot at Kim a day after the North launched its most powerful missile yet.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump threatened additional sanctions against the North over its continued nuclear missile development.


5:55 a.m. Thursday

France's U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre (fran-SWAH' deh-LAH'-trah) says the North Korean threat has changed dramatically over a few months to being global and immediate and France wants tougher sanctions to maximize pressure on Kim Jong Un's regime.

Delattre told reporters Wednesday ahead of an emergency Security Council meeting on North Korea's latest ballistic missile test that the scope and scale of the North's nuclear threat has moved from being regional and "potential."

He says, "Weakness or ambiguity are simply not an option."

Delattre says that's why France is calling for intensified efforts to strictly implement existing sanctions and additional sanctions.

Delattre says, "Maximum firmness today is our best antidote to the risk of war and our best tool to promote a political solution."


4:30 a.m.

Japan's U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho says the international community must "keep the pressure up so that North Koreans will understand that they need to change their course."

Bessho spoke to reporters Wednesday ahead of an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council called by the United States, Japan and South Korea following North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

France's U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre said full implementation and tightening of sanctions are "key priorities for France but also for others."

Tightening sanctions would require a new Security Council resolution.

Sweden's deputy U.N. ambassador Carl Skau reiterated his country's strong condemnation of the launch and said "it's important that the council speaks with one voice on this issue."


12:30 a.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States may target additional financial institutions with sanctions following North Korea's latest intercontinental missile launch.

Tillerson spoke in Washington on Wednesday during a meeting with the visiting crown prince of Bahrain. He said the U.S. has a "long list of additional potential sanctions."

Tillerson didn't specify what financial institutions could be hit with sanctions. But he said the United States will be announcing the sanctions once they're "ready to roll out." His comments came after President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that more sanctions were coming.

Tillerson said he's not giving up on diplomatic efforts to resolve concerns about North Korea's nuclear weapons program peacefully. He said "we keep working at it every day."

North Korea said the missile it launched early Wednesday can carry a large nuclear warhead and has "significantly more" power than missiles it's tested earlier.

Moon has repeatedly declared the U.S. cannot attack the North without Seoul's approval. But Washington may act without South Korean input.

The launch was North Korea's first since it fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan on Sept. 15 and may have broken any efforts at diplomacy. U.S. officials have sporadically floated the idea of direct talks with North Korea if it maintained restraint.

The missile also appeared an improvement on North Korea's past launches.

If flown on a standard trajectory, instead of Wednesday's lofted angle, the missile would have a range of more than 13,000 kilometers (8,100 miles), said U.S. scientist David Wright, a physicist who closely tracks North Korea's missile and nuclear programs. "Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States," Wright wrote in a blog post for the Union for Concerned Scientists.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the missile landed inside Japan's special economic zone in the Sea of Japan.

A big unknown, however, is the missile's payload. If, as expected, it carried a light mock warhead, then its effective range would have been shorter, analysts said.

In his call with Xi, Trump made clear "the determination of the United States to defend ourselves and our allies," according to a White House statement. Trump also "emphasized the need for China to use all available levers to convince North Korea to end its provocations and return to the path of denuclearization."

The Trump administration bolstered U.S. sanctions against North Korea last week and imposed new restrictions on North Korean shipping firms and Chinese companies that deal with the North.

China's state-run Xinhua news agency said Xi told Trump that China remained determined to clear the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons, and to preserve peace and stability in Northeast Asia. Xi said China wants to maintain communications with the U.S. and others, and "jointly push the nuclear issue toward the direction of peaceful settlement via dialogues and negotiations."


Kim reported from Seoul. Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns in Washington, Foster Klug in Seoul, Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.

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