The rhetoric coming out of North Korea continues to heat up as tensions between that Far East nation and the United States rise.
A North Korean foreign minister on Friday accused President Donald Trump of building up a "vicious cycle" of tensions, saying that his “aggressive” tweets were “making trouble.”
In an interview through an interpreter with The Associated Press in Pyongyang, Vice Minister Han Song Ryol also warned the United States that his country would "go to war if they choose."
"If the U.S. comes with reckless military maneuvers then we will confront it with … the pre-emptive strike," Han said. "We've got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a U.S. pre-emptive strike."
The United States has sent an aircraft carrier to the waters off the Korean peninsula and is conducting its largest-ever joint military exercises with South Korea, the AP reported. North Korea recently launched a ballistic missile and could conduct another test soon.
Han did not dispel that notion. .
"That is something that our headquarters decides," Han said. "At a time and at a place where the headquarters deems necessary, it will take place."
During his 40-minute interview with the AP, Han placed the blame for tensions on Trump. He mentioned a tweet Trump posted Tuesday, in which he said North Korea is “looking for trouble.”
"Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words," Han said. "So that's why. It's not the (North Korea) but the U.S. and Trump that makes trouble."
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Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com