North Korea insisted on the "established fact" that if the United States and South Korea continue to antagonize it with military exercises, war would become inevitable, The Associated Press reports. The threats followed this week's ongoing joint drills between Washington and Seoul, which have involved hundreds of warplanes and simulated land strikes near South Korea's east coast.
"We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it," a North Korean spokesman said, "and should the U.S. miscalculate our patience and light the fuse for a nuclear war, we will surely make the U.S. dearly pay the consequences with our mighty nuclear force which we have consistently strengthened."
The comments are in keeping with North Korea's combative attitude, and a North Korean spokesman additionally claimed that CIA Director Mike Pompeo had provoked Pyongyang by dismissing leader Kim Jong Un's understanding of the situation in comments that "impudently criticiz[ed] our supreme leadership which is the heart of our people."
In November, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile with "more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C.," said David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Read more about the possibility of coexisting with a nuclear North Korea at The Week. Jeva Lange