North Korea will continue to test missiles, a senior official has told the BBC in Pyongyang, despite international condemnation and growing military tensions with the US.
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"If the U.S. is reckless enough to use military means, from that very day, there will be all out war. Our nuclear weapons protect us from that threat," Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol told the BBC's John Sudworth.
"We'll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis," he threatened. He said that an "all-out war" would result if the US took military action.
VP Mike Pence is in Seoul this week, where he said to U.S. troops stationed there: "This morning's provocation from the North is just another reminder of the risks each one of the you face in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea, and the defense of America in this part of the world."
In an interview with Al Jazeera today, North Korea's deputy foreign minister Sin Hong-chol said Pyongyang doesn’t take orders from the United States and can and will protect itself. He said the country’s armed forces are "in a state of maximum alert" to respond to any action from the US.
"If we notice any sign of assault on our soveriegnty, our army will launch merciless military strikes against the U.S. aggressors whereever they exist. From the remote U.S. lands to the military bases in the Korean pennsnsula, Japan, and elsewhere," he threatened.
"The new Trump administration should look to the world with open eyes," he also said. "The time of dictating orders by brandishing the U.S military might has gone. If those businessmen in power in the U.S. thought the could intimidate us with military or sanction threats --as the Obama administration failed to do-- they will soon find out such threats are useless."
"Unless the U.S. abandons its hostile politicies against North Korea, there will be no chance for any bilateral meetings at any level," he said.
"The nuclear weapon in our possession is not an illusion," he claimed. "It is not a commodity that can be traded for American dollars, and it is not for sale."