SEOUL

North Korea slammed US President Donald Trump as "incurably mentally deranged" in a personal diatribe ahead of his first visit to Asia as head of state, amid high tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong-Un have traded threats of war and personal insults against each other in recent months, heightening worries about a potential conflict on the divided Korean peninsula.

Trump has warned of "fire and fury" and "calm before the storm", telling the UN General Assembly that Washington would "totally destroy North Korea" if it had to defend itself or its allies.

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He dubbed Kim "Rocket Man" in the same speech — Pyongyang has tested missiles apparently capable of reaching much of the US mainland — and days later Kim responded with a personal statement calling Trump a "dotard", an obscure term for a weak or senile old man.

The US president is due in Asia at the weekend and ahead of his arrival the North's state-run KCNA news agency lashed out at "bellicose and irresponsible rhetoric" by the "master of invective".

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