Tensions on the Korean peninsula reached boiling point on Thursday as Pyongyang warned it would not avoid war with the US if provoked, while a Chinese-run newspaper on the border published tips for how to survive a nuclear attack.
North Korea’s foreign ministry said that bellicose remarks by ranking US officials against the North and ongoing large-scale aerial drills between Seoul and Washington indicate that the US is taking a “step-by-step” approach to provoke a war on the Korean Peninsula.
“We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it, and should the US miscalculate our patience and light the fuse for a nuclear war, we will surely make the US dearly pay the consequences with our mighty nuclear force which we have consistently strengthen’ed,” the Korean Central News Agency reported in English.
The threat came after South Korea and the US kicked off their five-day joint air force drills on Monday, with B-1B Lancer strategic bomber aircraft and F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets mobilized.
The North has long denounced the allies’ military exercise as a rehearsal for an invasion.Key US officials issued warnings against the wayward regime after the North on November 29 fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile that it claims is capable of striking anywhere in the US.
US National Security Adviser HR McMaster said that the possibility of war with North Korea is “increasing every day”.
Mike Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, warned last week that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did not realize how precarious his position is in the world.
North Korea said that a series of war remarks from US officials have made “an outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula an established fact”.
“If the US does not want to be burnt to death by the fire it ignites, it would better behave with prudence and caution,” the KCNA added.
On Wednesday, China’s state-run Jilin Daily published a full page advisory for readers on how to protect themselves against a nuclear strike. Readers were advised to wear masks, wash clothes vigorously and take iodine tablets to prevent radioactive contamination.