North Korea on Thursday threatened the U.S. with a “super-mighty preemptive strike” that would blast American and South Korean military forces “to ashes,” in the latest escalation of tensions, and rhetoric, between the reclusive rogue regime and the West.
In a statement carried by Pyongyang’s state-run newspaper, the North Korean government also warned that the U.S. “should not mess with us.”
“In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes,” the statement said.
Trump, during a joint press conference with the Italian Prime Minister, said hours later that the U.S. was “building our military rapidly” and was “in very good shape” to handle the ongoing situation.
“We’re going to see what happens,” he said.
Pyongyang’s blistering remarks came a day after Vice President Mike Pence threatened North Korea himself, saying that America’s “sword stands ready” if the regime were to use conventional or nuclear weapons.
“Those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know, we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response,” Pence said Wednesday in Japan, during a 10-day trip through Asia.
The United Nations Security Council also blasted Pyongyang’s latest move, condemned the nation’s latest failed missile test in a statement Thursday that also demanded the government not conduct any more nuclear tests.
Pence, for his part, has repeatedly said that “all options are on the table” to deal with North Korea. And on Monday, he traveled to the tense Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea, where he warned North Korea’s leaders that after years of testing the U.S. and South Korea with its nuclear ambitions, “the era of strategic patience is over.”
Senior North Korean officials responded by accusing the U.S. of bringing the countries to the brink of “thermonuclear war” and vowing to conduct “more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.”
White House officials, however, have stopped short of flatly saying that military action was being planned.
Nevertheless, the U.S. reportedly directed two additional aircraft carrier groups toward the Korean Peninsula this week.
In addition to the Carl Vinson strike group, which had already been directed toward the area, the Pentagon has sent the Ronald Reagan and the Nimitz toward the Sea of Japan as part of a larger show of force following North Korea’s missile tests, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
Administration officials, however, have also hinted the priority remained diplomacy, with an emphasis on leaning on China to exert influence over its neighbor.
With News Wire Services