TOKYO — North Korea said Monday it is not frightened by U.S. threats of possible pre-emptive military action to halt its nuclear and missile buildup.
A spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry slammed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent talk of tougher sanctions, more pressure, and possible military action, and said the North would not be deterred in its nuclear program.
“The nuclear force of (North Korea) is the treasured sword of justice and the most reliable war deterrence to defend the socialist motherland and the life of its people,” the official Korean Central News Agency quoted the spokesman as saying.
Tillerson recently visited Japan, South Korea and China on trip that focused on North Korea’s nuclear program. On Friday, he signaled a tougher strategy that left open the possibility of pre-emptive military action.
“Let me be very clear: The policy of strategic patience has ended,” he said after visiting the heavily militarized border between the rival Koreas. “We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table.”
A day earlier in Japan, Tillerson had described the past 20 years of U.S. policy toward North Korea as a failure and vowed a comprehensive policy review under President Trump.
On Saturday, North Korea conducted a ground test of a new type of rocket engine that leader Kim Jong Un called a revolutionary breakthrough. for the country’s space program.