'Conflict could break out at any moment' over N Korea: China

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in Pyongyang, Vice Minister Han Song Ryol also warned the us against provoking North Korea militarily.

The answer to that question is yes, according to an explosive new report from NBC, which alleges that the Trump administration would be prepared to hit the reclusive Communist nation if "officials become convinced" they are preparing to test another nuclear weapon.

The Nikkei business daily said government discussions included how to rescue the estimated 57,000 Japanese citizens in South Korea as well as how to cope with a possible flood of North Korean refugees coming to Japan, among whom might be North Korean spies and agents. "It's not [North Korea] but the US and Trump that makes trouble".

Separately on Twitter he expressed confidence China, Pyongyang's sole ally, would "properly deal with North Korea".

Implementation of the preemptive USA plans, according to multiple US officials, depends centrally on consent of the South Korean government.

"Now we are comparing Trump's policy toward the DPRK with the former administration's and we have concluded that it's becoming more vicious and more aggressive", Han said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Yun spoke to the American businesspeople amid growing speculation that the North may carry out an additional nuclear test or intercontinental ballistic missile launch. In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, North Korea's vice-foreign minister said the country "certainly will not keep our arms crossed" if the USA launches a preemptive strike.

He said: "If the USA comes with reckless military manoeuvres then we will confront it with the DPRK's pre-emptive strike", referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

In a statement, a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry's Institute for Disarmament and Peace said: 'The US introduces into the Korean peninsula, the world's biggest hotspot, huge nuclear strategic assets'.

In the same article, Pyongyang also threatened to launch "nuclear thunderbolts" at the USA, should Washington show any sign of a preemptive strike against the North.

Many experts believe North Korea could have a viable nuclear warhead and a ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States mainland within the next few years.

"Once a war really happens, the result will be nothing but multiple-loss", Wang said. Despite reports that Washington is considering military action if the North goes ahead with another nuclear test, Han did not rule out the possibility of a test in the near future.

"Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words", Mr Han said. "So that's why. It's not the DPRK but the US and Trump that makes trouble". Wang told reporters that all sides must stop provoking and threatening each other in their words and actions and take a flexible approach to resuming dialogue.

Wang said that whichever side provoked a conflict "must assume the historic responsibility and pay the corresponding price".

Pyongyang took a swipe at long-standing ally China on Friday, implying that Beijing was "cooperating" with Washington for the collapse of North Korea, via an article in the Rodong Sinmun.

This will be Pence's first visit as vice president as it comes at a time when there are rising concerns that Pyongyang could soon conduct its sixth nuclear test.

  • Leroy Wright