North Korea has threatened “all out war” if the United States uses military intervention to deter its nuclear ambitions.
Speaking to the BBC, Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol asserted that North Korea would respond with force if the US was “reckless enough” to attack.
“If the US is reckless enough to use military means it would mean from that very day, an all out war,” Song-Ryol said.
“A nuclear war could break out at any moment on the Korean Peninsula.”
The vice foreign minister added that the country would also ramp up its missile program despite increased tensions with the U.S. and its regional allies.
“We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis,” Song-Ryol added.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in South Korea only hours after North Korea’s botched missile test Sunday morning and the prior day’s military parade.
“North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region,” Pence said, referring to President Trump.
During a visit to South Korea in March, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that pre-emptive military action was “on the table.”
The Trump administration has responded to North Korea’s rhetoric and weapons development by sending a navy strike group towards the Korean Peninsula while moving forward with the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea. Discussions on diplomatic and military options have also been held with China.
Experts believe that Kim Jong-un’s government, despite pressure from the international community, continues to prepare for a sixth nuclear test.