By SEAN LOPEZA, Associated Press North Korea said Saturday that the US was the sole reason why its nuclear weapons program was growing and threatened to attack Washington in the event of US President Donald Trump’s administration becoming more aggressive.
The statement by Kim Jong-un came just days after the White House issued a “strong warning” to the US to stop its missile and nuclear weapons programs.
It came just hours after Kim and his top aides, including Vice President Mike Pence, visited South Korea and Washington, where the two leaders vowed to maintain high military readiness in case of a war.
The North’s announcement came a day after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump’s rhetoric toward Pyongyang was creating a crisis in the region and was making the situation worse.
In a speech to students in Pyongyang, Tillerson said he would “call on all parties to refrain from reckless, provocative and destabilizing behavior,” including threats and acts of violence.
“We will never allow the reckless rhetoric and actions of our enemies to escalate into war, or to undermine the global order,” Tillerson said.
“And we will not allow our enemies, our enemies’ enemies, to use this dangerous situation as a pretext to pursue any of their hostile and dangerous plans, actions or objectives,” he said.
“This is not a normal day in the United States,” Tillerson added.
Trump is expected to address the annual General Assembly session on Tuesday.
Tillerson’s comments come after Trump spoke to South Korean President Moon Jae-in last week, saying the US should have nuclear weapons to defend itself and said he was not opposed to the idea of US military action in response to North Korea.
North Korea’s statement on Saturday comes as the United Nations Security Council approved the deployment of a joint US-South Korean force to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, despite the US veto.
The UNSC unanimously approved the move Friday after the North submitted its proposal to host the deployment in October.
The deployment comes as tensions rise in the Korean Peninsula as North Korea continues to test missiles, launch artillery shells and launch ballistic missiles.
Trump has called North Korea a “nuclear state” that is trying to develop a nuclear weapon that can hit the United State.