Agencies (Qasioun) – North Korea’s vice foreign minister told Associated Press that President Donald Trump's tweets are adding fuel to a "vicious cycle" of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The official added that if the U.S. shows any sign of "reckless" military aggression, Pyongyang is ready to launch a pre-emptive strike of its own. Vice Minister Han Song Ryol said Pyongyang has determined the Trump administration is "more vicious and more aggressive" than that of his predecessor, Barack Obama. He added that North Korea will keep building up its nuclear arsenal in "quality and quantity" and said Pyongyang is ready to go to war if that's what Trump wants.
Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington go back to President Harry Truman and the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. But the heat has been rising rapidly since Trump took office in January.
"That is something that our headquarters decides," he said during the 40-minute interview in Pyongyang, which is now gearing up for a major holiday — and possibly a big military parade — on Saturday.
"At a time and at a place where the headquarters deems necessary, it will take place." The North conducted two such tests last year alone. The first was of what it claims to have been a hydrogen bomb and the second was its most powerful ever.
"Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words," Han said. "It's not the DPRK but the U.S. and Trump that makes trouble." North Korea's official name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
He added: "We will go to war if they choose."
Han said the sanctions approach is misguided and cited the opening ceremony of a sprawling new high-rise residential area in Pyongyang on Thursday as evidence that sanctions have failed to ruin the country's economy. Leader Kim Jong Un presided over the ceremony before about 100,000 residents and a large contingent of foreign journalists who have been allowed in to cover the holiday. Han dismissed the suggestion Trump made last year during his presidential campaign that he was willing to meet Kim Jong Un, possibly over hamburgers.
"I think that was nothing more than lip service during the campaign to make himself more popular," Han said. "Now we are comparing Trump's policy toward the DPRK with the former administration's and we have concluded that it's becoming more vicious and more aggressive," Han said. "Whatever comes from U.S. politicians, if their words are designed to overthrow the DPRK system and government, we will categorically reject them," he said.
Han said North Korea changed its military strategy two years ago, when the reports of "decapitation strike" training began to really get attention, to stress pre-emptive actions.
"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," he said. "Whatever comes from the U.S., we will cope with it. We are fully prepared to handle it."
He said China is willing to support any such effort. "Once a war really happens, the result will be nothing but multiple-loss. No one can become a winner," Wang said. "No matter who it is, if it wants to make war or trouble on the Korean Peninsula, it must take the historical responsibility and pay the due price."
Source: Associated Press