Just a day after Donald Trump criticized North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, the reclusive country vowed to carry out more provocative actions against the U.S.'s hard-line policy. On Friday, the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that "strategic patience has ended" and that a military response was “on the table” against North Korea.
In a commentary, titled "The Root of Intensification of Tension on the Korean Peninsula," Rodong Sinmun, a daily of the ruling Workers' Party in North Korea, wrote: "Our army and people will continuously bolster up our nuclear deterrent for self defense down the road under the conditions that high-level U.S. government officials adamantly stick to their hostile policy toward us."
The paper added that the possession of strong nuclear weapons is "the only way" to ultimately put North Korea-U.S. relations in order and the "absolute collateral" for peace and security that has been threatened by the joint military drills conducted by Washington and South Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The comments come just a day after Trump wrote on his Twitter account that North Korea was “behaving very badly. They have been 'playing' the United States for years. China has done little to help!"
Since Trump took office in January, North Korea has fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. There also have been reports that Kim Jong Un's regime is currently working on a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach America.
On Monday, the North Korean paper wrote that the firing of a new intermediate-range ballistic missile, called Pukguksong-2, on Feb. 12 and four ballistic missiles on March 6 were steps to fight "constant U.S. invasion intimidation."
Tensions between North Korea and the U.S. escalated amid Pyongyang's missile tests, which it says were in response to the U.S.-South Korea military drills. The U.S. is also planning to build its military power amid North Korea's growing threats.
Tillerson, who was in Tokyo on Thursday, said many efforts undertaken over the past few decades to stop North Korea's nuclear development had failed. "North Korea not only threatens its regional neighbors but the United States and other countries," Tillerson said.
He added that he does not want "things to get to a military conflict" because there are "many, many steps we can take" and "we hope that that will persuade North Korea to take a different course of action. That's our desire." But if North Korea continues with further missile threats, it "would be met with an appropriate response," Tillerson said.