N. Korea army vows 'merciless' response to US provocation

"The U.S. introduces into the Korean peninsula, the world's biggest hotspot, huge nuclear strategic assets, seriously threatening peace and security of the peninsula and pushing the situation there to the brink of a war", the North's KCNA news agency said on Friday, citing the statement.

Engagement remains an option even though the current focus is on pressure, officials were quoted as saying.

On Wednesday, North Korea said it would "hit the USA first" with a nuclear weapon should there be any signs of US strikes.

Wang last month urged North Korea to suspend its nuclear weapon and missile tests in exchange for South Korea and the USA putting their war games on hold, reviving a proposal first raised by Pyongyang.

In an interview with Chinese state tabloid Global Times, North Korea's director of the foreign ministry's Asia department said there are no "empty words" when Pyongyang vows to strike back.

The sharp language came after President Donald Trump said that the "problem" of North Korea "will be taken care of", as speculation mounts that the reclusive state could be preparing another nuclear or missile test.

North Korea, still technically at war with the South after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty, has on occasion conducted missile or nuclear tests to coincide with big political events and often threatens the United States, South Korea and Japan.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday said it was necessary to prevent the situation on the Korean peninsula from going down "an irreversible route", Efe news reported.

"Whatever comes from USA politicians, if their words are created to overthrow the DPRK system and government, we will categorically reject them", he said. "We will go to war if they choose", he said.

Mr Han, however, said North Korea blames Mr Trump and the USA for the rising tensions. 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.

North Korea's vice foreign minister says the situation on the Korean Peninsula is now in a "vicious cycle".

Pang Zhongying of the School of International Studies at Beijing's Renmin University agreed that military action was unlikely, but said another North Korean nuclear test would mark "the crossing of a red line" that China was prepared to respond to.

So far this year, North Korea has conducted four missile launches, including tests of more advanced technology and potentially longer-range capability. In an interview with AP, Han Song Ryol, the nation's director-general of US affairs, referred to our president's "aggressive" social-media outbursts as "making trouble" and escalating a "vicious cycle" of tensions between the already adversarial administrations.

"If the USA comes with reckless military maneuvers, then we will confront it with the DPRK's pre-emptive strike".

South Korea and the United States say the sole goal of the THAAD is to guard against North Korean missiles, but China says that its powerful radar could penetrate its territory.

"Getting a job is a war that I feel in my bones".

  • Leroy Wright