North Korea has warned its army is on “maximum alert” after Vice President Mike Pence visited the heavily armed border between the two Koreas and reiterated Washington’s position that “all options are on the table” in dealing with Pyongyang.
Last week, North Korea’s vice foreign minister said President Donald Trump is “making trouble” with “aggressive” tweets.
Sin Hong-chol, North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, told Al Jazeera on Monday that Donald Trump’s administration “should look at the world with open eyes.”
Pence told U.S. troops stationed in Seoul: “This morning’s provocation from the North is just another reminder of the risks each one of the you face in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea, and the defense of America in this part of the world.”
“The time of dictating orders by brandishing the US military might has gone. If those businessmen in power in the US thought of intimidating us by any military or sanction threats – as the Obama administration used to do and failed – they will soon find out such threats are useless,” Sin said.
“If we notice any sign of assault on our sovereignty, our army will launch merciless military strikes against the US aggressors, wherever they may exist, from the remote US lands to the American military bases on the Korean peninsula, such as those of Japan and elsewhere,” Sin said.
Sin also said that the six-nation talks aiming to make the Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons were “throttled at birth”.
“The nuclear weapon in our possession is not illusion; it is not a commodity that may be traded for American dollars – nor is it for sale. So it cannot be put on the negotiating table with the aim to rip it off,” he said.
North Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol stressed that any manner of military action by the US against his country would result in war.
“We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis,” he added. “If the US is planning a military attack against us, we will react with a nuclear pre-emptive strike by our own style and method.”
Sin Hong-chol, another deputy foreign minister, noted that the North’s army was on “maximum alert” during Pence’s visit to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), located between the North and South.
“If the U.S. is reckless enough to use military means, from that very day, there will be all out war. Our nuclear weapons protect us from that threat,” Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol told the BBC’s John Sudworth.
“We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis,” he threatened. He said that an “all-out war” would result if the US took military action.
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