World

Duterte calls 
North Korea's Kim a 'fool' over nuclear ambitions

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday described North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a "fool" and a "son of a b****", just days before Manila hosts an international meeting that is certain to address Pyongyang's long-range missile tests.

Mr Duterte held nothing back in rebuking Mr Kim for "playing with dangerous toys", setting the stage for next week's rare get-together, to be attended by the foreign ministers of all the countries involved in the standoff on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea is determined to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States, and officials in Washington said last week's test of an intercontinental ballistic missile showed it may be able to reach most of the US.

"This Kim Jong Un, a fool... he is playing with dangerous toys, that fool," Mr Duterte told tax officials in a speech.

"That chubby face that looks kind. That son of a b****. If he commits a mistake, the Far East will become an arid land. It must be stopped, this nuclear war.

"A limited confrontation and it blows up here, I tell you, the fallout can deplete the soil, the resources, and I don't know what will happen to us."

This year, Mr Duterte is the chairman of Asean, and on Monday, Manila will host the Asean Regional Forum, which brings together 27 countries that include Australia, China, India, Japan, Russia, North and South Korea and the US.

It was not the first time Mr Duterte has criticised Mr Kim over his nuclear ambitions. In April, he questioned Mr Kim's sanity and urged the US to show restraint and not be baited by a man who "wants to end the world". - REUTERS

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