Coming off the back of Donald Trump's threat that the USA could totally destroy North Korea, they have finally responded in kind, with their foreign minister stating that the leader could detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific.
Tillerson won't say what the US response would be if Kim's government tested a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.
"We have a lot of firepower, more than he has, times 20 - but we don't want to use it", he added.
However North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, did not specify what his response would be. He expanded on those comments at a political rally in Alabama last night, saying Kim may be "smart, he may be strategic" or he may be "totally insane", but no matter what, Americans will be protected.
His message in Alabama last night was less strident. The U.S. characterized the flights as extending farther north of the DMZ, which separates North and South Korea, than any U.S. fighter or bomber had gone off the North Korean coast in the 21st century. Treasury yields and regional stocks fell after Yonhap reported Ri's remarks.
Earlier this month North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that nuclear scientists estimated was almost seven times more powerful than the bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945. The reason for the delay is unclear, it said.
In a lengthy statement carried by North Korean state media, Kim said that Trump would "pay dearly" for his threat to destroy North Korea.
Raising concern over the North Korean missile-tests, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had said that negotiations is the only way to find out the solution and urged the ruling Democratic People's Republic of the Korean Government to not go further in "dangerous direction".
But Chung Sung-Yoon, analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification, told AFP that the North itself may have shelved the idea of negotiations until it reaches its nuclear goal. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo that the statement was provocative and unacceptable. In an aggressive speech, Trump said he may be forced to "destroy" North Korea, referring to the country's leader as "Rocket Man".
Tillerson says American diplomatic efforts "continue unabated" to try to bring Kim's government to the negotiating table.
"Japan will make every effort to protect the security of the Japanese people from cooperation with the USA and South Korea", said Suga. "We are talking about putting a live nuclear warhead on a missile that has been tested only a handful of times".
This would be the weapon's first above-ground test.
So much for keeping the US-North Korea crisis a country-to-country war of words. "That would highlight the fact that the existential threat to the United States, is real", he said.
The war of words comes after the totalitarian nation threatened to drop a massive hydrogen bomb in the middile of the Pacific Ocean.
"If not possible now, it would be certainly be possible within months or a year", Tahk said.
And an exchange of threats is a game North Korea - a nation that's overshadowed on everything non-nuclear by its rich and vibrant southern rival - is more than willing to play.
Ri told reporters in NY he did not know Kim's exact thoughts.
He even praised China for taking an action to limit financial transactions with the isolated communist nation. "They were lashed to the end of anti-aircraft guns".
Trump also said China was imposing major banking sanctions, too, but there was no immediate confirmation from the North's most important trading partner.
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