U.S. President Donald Trump is making North Korea more aggressive, said North Korea’s vice foreign minister on Friday.
In an interview with the Associated Press in Pyongyang, Han Song-ryol said Trump’s “aggressive” tweets were “making trouble” and creating a “vicious cycle” of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
“We are comparing Trump’s policy toward the DPRK with the former administrations and we have concluded that it’s becoming more vicious and more aggressive,” he said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“If the U.S. comes with reckless military maneuvers then we will confront it with the DPRK’s pre-emptive strike. 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.
It’s unusual for North Korea to speak so openly about its plans, but tensions with the U.S. are mounting rapidly. The U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to waters off the Peninsula and in an interview that aired Wednesday, Trump said he was sending an “armada” to North Korea. “We are sending an armada. Very powerful. We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you,” Trump told Fox Business Network.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called Trump Wednesday and urged him to seek a “peaceful resolution” to the tension.
With the help of satellite images, experts believe that North Korea will mark the 105th birthday anniversary of the nation’s founder Kim Il-Sung on Saturday with a nuclear missile test, its sixth since 2006.
Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, warned Thursday that North Korea might be capable of firing sarin-loaded missiles toward Japan. Sarin, an odorless, tasteless nerve agent, can cause death in minutes, and has been used in chemical warfare. In 1995, domestic extremists attacked the Tokyo subway, killing 12 people with the sarin agent and causing temporary blindness in 5,000 others. The Syrian regime stands accused of using sarin gas in the Ghouta suburb of Damascus in 2013, and in an April 4 attack that killed more than 80 people in Syria’s northern Idlib province.
North Korea’s missiles can already reach Japan, with one landing 300 miles off its coast during a missile test in February.