NORTH Korea has called Donald Trump a "hooligan" and a "lunatic" after the US reportedly put its nuclear bombers back on 24-hour alert for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
B-52 aircraft could soon find themselves permanently laden with nuclear weapons and parked next to the runways on air bases waiting for the order to attack, it has been claimed.
An editorial by North Korean government news agency KCNA said: "Dignitaries of White House, and State and Defense Departments of the US are having a hard time cooling Trump overheated with a war fever, but only the south Korean puppet forces are fanning up the lunatic fingering a nuclear button.
"Lunatic Trump is running headlong into ruin, taking America with him, and the poor puppet forces (a reference to South Korea and other US allies) are following him, at the peril of their lives."
The bizarre tirade continued: "The darkness drooping low over America is sunset, not dawn, and no force can stop America from rushing headlong into downhill after over-living its era.
"No wonder, such hooligan as thoughtless Trump is going on the rampage after becoming owner of White House, rendering the world restless."
Meanwhile, a top South Korean official has warned that North Korea is putting the finishing touches on its nuclear weapons.
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told Yonhap News Agency: "It is true that North Korea is quickly approaching the completion of its nuclear armament."
The shocking bomber revelation – which would mark the first time since 1991 - the end of the Cold War - that such an alert level was reached – was made by Defense One.
It is understood the decision has not yet been made, but the high command is preparing for the eventuality that the order will come.
General David Goldfein, US Air Force chief of staff, told the website: “This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared.”
He said the move was simply about being “prepared” and part of planning for “the global situation we find ourselves in”.
Tensions between the US and North Korea have looked like reaching boiling point of late, as Kim Jong-un pushes on with his nuclear programme.
Goldfein said: “The world is a dangerous place and we’ve got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons.”