The Economist
By Alana Abramson
September 19, 2017

President Trump referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “Rocket Man” in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday.

Speaking for the first time at the United Nations, Trump said the 33-year-old leader’s recent missile tests and other aggressive behavior could lead to the U.S. to “totally destroy” the country down the road.

“Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” he said in his first address to the General Assembly. “The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.

Trump coined his latest nickname over the weekend in a tweet.

But he’s not the first to use the epithet for a North Korean leader. In fact, Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il was given the nickname on a July 8, 2006, cover of The Economist, a British business news magazine.

The title of the cover? “Rocket man.”

Kim Jong-il died in 2011, and was succeeded by Kim Jong Un. But he too had a preoccupation with developing nuclear weapons; it was under his leadership that North Korea left the United Nations’ Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 2003 and began operating nuclear weapon facilities, ultimately testing seven ballistic missiles, according to a chronology provided by the Arms Control Association.

A representative from the Economist did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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