North Korea has pledged that it will "mercilessly punish" the US if president Donald Trump does anything "reckless" ahead of the American leader's visit to South Korea, Pyongyang's archrival.

Trump embarked on a gruelling 12-day Asia tour – the longest by any US president in 25 years – on Sunday, 5 November, kick-starting the visit in Japan. He will arrive in South Korea on Tuesday, 7 November, for a two-day visit and will hold a series of bilateral talks with top Seoul authorities.

Reacting to Trump's tour, which is likely to be dominated by threats emerging from the North, Pyongyang issued a statement on Sunday via its key media outlet Rodong Sinmun.

"Nobody can predict when Trump does a reckless act. The only and one way for checking his rash act is to tame him with absolute physical power," the North Korean mouthpiece said. The dispatch was also carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"If the US misjudges [North Korea's] toughest will and dares to act recklessly, we will be compelled to deal a resolute and merciless punishment upon the former with the mobilisation of all forces. The US will have no energy to prevent it. Then its regret will be too late," warned the rogue nation.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have engaged in a war of words and traded personal insults in recent weeks, exacerbating the tense situation in the region. While Trump ridiculed Kim as a "little rocket man", the North responded by calling him a "dotard", referring to him as a senile or old person.

Donald Trump and North Korea
US President Donald Trump departs after a round of golf with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe, Japan on 5 November, 2017 Jonathan Ernst/Reuters