WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was "acting very, very badly", hours after Pyongyang conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine.
"He is acting very very badly," Trump told reporters after he held meetings on North Korea with his national security staff at his Florida residence.
Trump returned to the White House last night.
"Today, President Donald J Trump held meetings regarding North Korea and China," the White House said in a brief readout of his meetings of the day.
It said the President also met with military personnel.
In brief interaction with reporters at Mar-a-Lago, Trump said that over the weekend he held meeting with his officials on North Korea.
North Korea conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine on Saturday at the Sohae launch site, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
It said Kim called the test "a great event of historic significance" for North Korea's indigenous rocket industry.
In the last few weeks, the Trump administration has ramped up its rhetoric on North Korea.
The US alleges that these tests have been carried out in violation of the UN Security Council resolution.
Trump's remarks came as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson headed back home from a three-nation – Japan, South Korea and China – trip wherein Pyongyang dominated his deliberations.
During his three-nation Asia trip, Tillerson not only denounced North Korean tests but also said that the US is open to any pre-emptive strike against Pyongyang.
A top Republican lawmaker supported Tillerson’s remarks.
"The closer that the North Korean regime gets to being able to deliver a nuclear weapon, we're going to have to be in a position to take some type of preemptive strike. We hope that it doesn't come to that," Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence Congressman David Nunes told Fox News.
In Japan, Tillerson said that the diplomatic and other efforts in the past 20 years have failed and thus there is need for a different approach.
"In the face of this ever-escalating threat, it is clear that a different approach is required. Part of the purpose of my visit to the region is to exchange views on a new approach," he said.
A day later, Trump used tweeter – his favorite social media platform – to slam North Korea.
"North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been playing the United States for years. China has done little to help," said the US President.
Kathleen Stephens, a former US Ambassador to South Korea, said that all these indicates that the US is toughening its stance against North Korea.
Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, too has supported Tillerson on North Korea.