US President Donald Trump has been “sentenced to death” by North Korea for insulting its leader Kim Jong-un, the country’s state newspaper said.
In an editorial written in the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun, the ruling party called Mr Trump a “coward” for cancelling a visit to the inter-Korean border and a “hideous criminal” for encouraging North Korea’s closest neighbours to put pressure on the regime to end its nuclear programme.
"The worst crime for which he can never be pardoned is that he dared [to] malignantly hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership," the editorial said.
"He should know that he is just a hideous criminal sentenced to death by the Korean people."
The president has just returned from a 12-day trip to Asia, visiting five countries including South Korea, in which he repeatedly described Pyongyang as a “menace”.
Mr Trump had planned to visit the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, however, the helicopter he was travelling to the DMZ in turned back after five minutes due to bad weather.
Rodong Sinmun said the president had been too afraid to visit the zone, a trip which has been undertaken by many senior US diplomats before.
“It wasn’t the weather,” the newspaper said: “He was just too scared to face the glaring eyes of our troops.”
Tensions between the US and North Korea have escalated since the reclusive regime stepped up its ballistic missile programme earlier this year.
Both Mr Trump and Mr Kim have traded personal insults with each other, resulting in fears that the two countries could end up in a nuclear conflict.
On Monday, while in Vietnam, the 71-year-old billionaire businessman responded to North Korea’s foreign ministry recently calling him a “dotard” (old lunatic) on his favourite information-sharing platform.
“Why would Kim Jong-Un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat’?” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.
"Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!" he added.
Mr Kim has previously called the former reality star a “mentally deranged dotard”, while Mr Trump has referred to the 33-year-old leader as a “madman” and “Rocket Man”.