North Korea issued another threat of nuclear annihilation against the U.S. on Thursday, vowing to unleash an “unimaginable strike at an unimaginable time.”
The warning comes as American military forces conduct ongoing joint naval exercises with South Korea.
“The U.S. is running amok by introducing under our nose the targets we have set as primary ones,” North Korean state news agency KCNA said in a statement. “The U.S. should expect that it would face unimaginable strike at an unimaginable time.”
North Korea also targeted President Trump directly.
“The rabid man in the White House … will first face the immense volley of nuclear fire if he hopes to settle (this) confrontation with nukes,” KCNA said.
Trump has engaged in a heated war of words with the rogue nation since taking office.
He has dubbed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Little Rocket Man” and threatening “fire and fury” as Pyongyang continues to pursue a nuclear arsenal.
North Korea stepped up its missile tests and threatened to bomb the U.S. territory of Guam as Trump repeatedly vowed military actions following intelligence assessments that the country produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead.
In recent months, North Korea has tested what it said were thermonuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles.
It has also launched two mid-range missiles over Japan while threatening to fire similar weapons at Guam.
North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador, Kim In Ryong, said Monday at the United Nations the situation on the Korean Peninsula had “reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.”
Trump is preparing for a 12-day tour of Asia next month and the White House is debating whether the President will visit the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea.
Some administration officials fear a visit will stoke tensions, while others fear for the President’s safety, according to a Washington Post report.
Officials in Seoul denied reports Thursday that South Korea president Moon Jae-in is opposed to Trump’s visit to the DMZ.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the South Koreans have some reservations,” Daniel Russel, who served as assistant secretary of state of East Asian and Pacific affairs under President Barack Obama and now a senior fellow at the Asia Society told the Daily News.
“We have never had a President who has engaged in a name calling contest with a North Korean leader before. We haven’t had a President overtly threaten to destroy North Korea from a United Nations lectern,” Russel said.
“So you could argue that it puts a different slant on the visit.”
Presidential visits to the DMZ accomplish two objectives, Russel said.
They allow the President a chance to thank and show solidarity with the U.S. and South Korean service members who guard one of the most dangerous borders in the world.
And the trip shows the U.S. stands with its allies in South Korea and is strongly committed to its defense.
“Both of those objectives remain important and should be factored into the decision by the White House,” Russel told The News.
The White House has not yet released the itinerary for the President’s trip.
Russian president Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, warned against driving North Korea into a corner.
While condemning Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, Putin said the standoff should be settled through dialogue, without “cornering North Korea, threatening to use force or going down to outright boorishness and swearing.”