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(LEAD) Trump tweets he would never call N.K. leader Kim 'short and fat'

All Headlines 15:46 November 12, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 6-8)

SEOUL, Nov. 12 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday tweeted a derisive message on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in response to Pyongyang's repeated insults against him.

"Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me 'old,' when I would NEVER call him 'short and fat?'" Trump said in a tweet from Hanoi, the latest leg of his 13-day Asia tour.

"Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!" he added.

On Saturday, North Korea criticized his Asia trip saying, "Reckless remarks by an old lunatic like Trump will never scare us or stop our advance."

Last week, it called on the U.S. to oust the "lunatic old" man from power and withdraw its hostile policy toward it.

This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, shows U.S. President Donald Trump. (Yonhap)

Later on Sunday, Trump raised the possibility of him making friends with the North Korean leader but he said he was not sure whether it would happen.

"If it did happen, it could be a good thing I can tell you for North Korea, but it could also be good for a lot of other places and be good for the rest the world," Trump said at a press conference in Vietnam.

"It could be something that could happen. I don't know if it will but it would be very, very nice," he added.

Throughout his trip, Trump has denounced the North Korean regime's nuclear adventurism, brutal dictatorship and human rights abuses.

On Friday in the Vietnamese resort city of Danang, Trump warned that the Asia-Pacific must not be held hostage by a dictator's "twisted fantasies."

But the feisty American leader has been seen modulating his combative rhetoric against the North, refusing to use highly provocative terms as he has done in recent months to threaten the pugnacious state.

Trump had warned of "fire and fury" on Pyongyang, threatened to "totally destroy" it and called its supremo a "Rocket Man on a suicide mission," in his angry response to a raft of provocations, including its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3.

The subtle shift in tone came as South Korean President Moon Jae-in ruled out the possibility of war and stressed a "peaceful" solution to the nuclear standoff with the North refraining from major provocations for nearly two months.

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