US President Donald Trump on Saturday said “only one thing will work” in dealing with North Korea after previous administrations had talked to Pyongyang without results.

“Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid,” Trump said in a tweet. “…Hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, making fools of US negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!”

Trump did not make clear to what he was referring, but his comments seemed to be a further suggestion that military action was on his mind.

The president has previously said the United States would “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary to protect itself and its allies from Pyongyang’s nuclear threats.

Last week, during a meeting with top US military leaders and their spouses, Trump told reporters it was the “calm before the storm.” Asked for clarification then on what he meant, Trump said: “You’ll find out.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the Second Plenum of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang October 8, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the Second Plenum of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in this undated photo released by Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang on October 8. Photo: Reuters via KCNA

Nukes a powerful deterrent: Kim Jong Un

However, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has just reiterated his belief – that nuclear weapons were a “powerful deterrent” which guaranteed North Korea’s sovereignty, state media reported on Sunday.

In a speech to a meeting of the powerful Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party on Saturday, a day before Trump’s most recent comments, state media said Kim had addressed the “complicated international situation”.

North Korea’s nuclear weapons are a “powerful deterrent firmly safeguarding the peace and security in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia,” Kim said, referring to the “protracted nuclear threats of the US imperialists”.

The situation proved that North Korea’s policy of “byungjin”, meaning the parallel development of nuclear weapons and the economy was “absolutely right”, Kim Jong Un said in the speech.

“The national economy has grown on their strength this year, despite the escalating sanctions,” said Kim, referring to UN Security Council resolutions put in place to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

In recent weeks, North Korea has launched two missiles over Japan and conducted its sixth nuclear test, and may be fast advancing toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland.

Preparing for ICBM test launch: Russian MP

North Korea is preparing to test-launch such a missile, a Russian lawmaker who had just returned from a visit to Pyongyang was quoted as saying on Friday. Anton Morozov, a member of the Russian lower house of parliament’s international affairs committee, was part of a Russian delegation that visited Pyongyang last week, according to Russian RIA news agency.

North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs have driven up tensions and around the world in recent months, particularly after it conducted a test explosion of what it said was a hydrogen bomb.

Kim Yo Jong promoted

Meanwhile, the meeting in Pyongyang also handled some personnel changes inside North Korea’s secretive and opaque ruling center of power, state media said. Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, was made an alternate member of the politburo – the top decision-making body over which Kim Jong Un presides.

Alongside Kim Jong Un himself, the promotion makes the 30-year-old the only other millennial member of the influential body. Her promotion indicates the 28-year-old has become a replacement for Kim Jong Un’s aunt, Kim Kyong Hee, who had been a key decision maker when former leader Kim Jong Il was alive.

“It shows that her portfolio and writ is far more substantive than previously believed and it is a further consolidation of the Kim family’s power,” said Michael Madden, a North Korea expert at Johns Hopkins University’s 38 North website.

In January, the US Treasury blacklisted Kim Yo Jong along with other North Korean officials over “severe human rights abuses”.

Kim Jong Sik and Ri Pyong Chol, two of the three men behind Kim’s banned rocket program, were also promoted.

‘Very good relationship’ with Tillerson

Trump repeatedly has made clear his distaste for dialogue with North Korea. Last Sunday he dismissed the idea of talks as a waste of time, a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington was maintaining open lines of communication with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s government.

Trump said on Saturday that he had a good relationship with his secretary of state despite some disagreements.

“We have a very good relationship. We disagree on a couple of things. Sometimes I’d like him to be a little bit tougher, but other than that we have a very good relationship,” he said.

Reuters