* Kim says Trump's comment confirm nuclear path is the right one
* Kim promises "highest level of hard-line countermeasure"
* Trump orders fresh US sanctions on North Korea
* North may consider Pacific hydrogen bomb test - foreign minister
* France says won't go to Winter Olympics if security at risk
North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after US President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make a "mentally deranged" Trump pay dearly for his threats.
Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, with whom he has traded insults over recent weeks. South Korea said it was the first direct statement of its kind by a North Korean leader.
However, Kim's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, said in televised remarks North Korea could consider a hydrogen bomb test of an unprecedented scale on the Pacific Ocean.
Ri, who was talking to reporters in New York ahead of a planned address later this week, also said he did not know Kim's exact thoughts.
Japan, the only country ever to suffer an atomic attack, described the threat as "totally unacceptable".
Trump said in his first address to the United Nations on Tuesday he would "totally destroy" North Korea, a country of 26 million people, if it threatened the United States and its allies, and called Kim a "rocket man" on a suicide mission.
Kim said the North would consider the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" against the United States and that Trump's comments had confirmed his own nuclear programme was "the correct path".
Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 3 and has launched dozens of missiles this year as it accelerates a programme aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.
"I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire," Kim said in the statement carried by the KCNA state news agency.
"Sleepwalking into war"
In a separate report, KCNA made a rare criticism of official Chinese media, saying their comments on the North's nuclear programme had damaged ties and suggested Beijing, its only major ally, had sided with Washington.
Singling out the official People's Daily and its more nationalistic sister publication, the Global Times, KCNA said Chinese media was "openly resorting to interference in the internal affairs of another country" and driving a wedge between the two countries.
The escalating rhetoric came even as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for statesmanship to avoid "sleepwalking" into a war.
South Korea, Russia and China all urged calm.
However, the rhetoric was starting to rattle some in the international community. French Sports Minister Laura Flessel said France's team would not travel to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea if its security cannot be guaranteed.
The 2018 Games are to be staged in Pyeongchang, just 80 km (50 miles) from the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, the world's most heavily armed border.
Asian stocks fell and the Japanese yen and Swiss franc gained on the possibility of a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan handed back earlier gains and was down 0.4 percent.
In his sanctions announcement on Thursday, Trump stopped short of going after Pyongyang's biggest trading partner, China, praising as "tremendous" a move by its central bank ordering Chinese banks to stop doing business with North Korea.
The additional sanctions on Pyongyang, including on its shipping and trade networks, showed that Trump was giving more time for economic pressures to weigh on North Korea after warning about the possibility of military action on Tuesday.
Asked ahead of a lunch meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea on Thursday if diplomacy was still possible, Trump nodded and said: "Why not?"
Trump said the new executive order on sanctions gives further authorities to target individual companies and institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea.
It "will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea's efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind", Trump said.
The US Treasury Department now had authority to target those that conduct "significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea".
Trump did not mention Pyongyang's oil trade.
The White House said North Korea's energy, medical, mining, textiles, and transportation industries were among those targeted and that the US Treasury could sanction anyone who owns, controls or operates a port of entry in North Korea.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
US, S Korea break off defence cost dialogue
US, S Korea postpone joint drills in ‘act of goodwill’
‘S Korea should pay more for US troops’
S Korea and US to cancel joint military air drill
Three bodies found after S. Korean helicopter crash near disputed islets
N Korea ‘conducts test of rocket launchers’
S.Korean divers find crashed Airbus chopper, 7 people missing
S.Korea says scrambled fighters after Russian warplanes violated air defence zone
US, South Korea must present new solutions for conflict: North