North Korean state media warned the United States of a “super-mighty preemptive strike” after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States was looking at ways to bring pressure to bear on North Korea over its nuclear program.
US President Donald Trump has taken a hard line with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has rebuffed admonitions from its sole major ally, China, and proceeded with nuclear and missile programs in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions. Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, did not mince its words.
“In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only US imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the US mainland and reduce them to ashes,” it said.
Reclusive North Korea regularly threatens to destroy Japan, South Korea, and the United States and has shown no letup in its belligerence after a failed missile test on Sunday, a day after putting on a huge display of missiles at a parade in Pyongyang.
Tillerson told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that the United States was “reviewing all the status of North Korea, both in terms of state sponsorship of terrorism as well as the other ways in which we can bring pressure on the regime in Pyongyang.”
US Vice President Mike Pence, on a tour of Asian allies, has repeatedly said an “era of strategic patience” with North Korea is over.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said during a visit to London that the military option must be part of the pressure. “Allowing this dictator to have that kind of power is not something that civilized nations can allow to happen,” he said, alluding to Kim.
Ryan said he was encouraged by the results of efforts to work with China to reduce tensions, but that it was unacceptable that North Korea might be able to strike allies with nuclear weapons. North and South Korea are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.