Bloomberg reported Monday that North Korea has warned that a nuclear war “may break out any moment” as South Korea and the U.S. began one of the largest joint naval drills off the east and west coasts of the Korean peninsula.
North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, said Monday that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has become a “full-fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges” and cautioned that “the entire U.S. mainland is within our firing range.”
“As long as one does not take part in the U.S. military actions agains the DPRK, we have no intention to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any other country,” Kim said.
These comments are similar to the other statements North Korea has made over the last few months as the tensions have increased between President Trump’s administration and Kim Jong Un’s regime. The ever-escalating war of words between the two leaders has seen Trump label Kim “Rocket Man,” with Kim responding by calling Trump a “dotard” and warning the U.S. with the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”
Bruce Bennett, the senior defense analyst at Rand Corp., said in a Bloomberg TV interview that “They just bluff to the extreme because they think that if enough people worry about what they’re saying, that would deter U.S.-South Korean action… The problem is North Korea is used to using extreme words to deter by bluff and bluster, and now they’re shocked that the Americans are using a similar approach.”
While Trump has said military force is an option to stop North Korea, and said in a speech at the UN that the U.S. would “totally destroy” North Korea if the country attacks, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pledged diplomacy with North Korea “until the first bomb drops.”
The full report from Bloomberg is available here.