North Korea tells the US it is 'fully ready for both dialogue and war'

STR/AFP/Getty ImagesNorth Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting the test-fire of intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location.
  • North Korea said it is “fully ready for both dialogue and war” with the US.
  • State-run news agency KCNA reported Monday the US would be “naive and foolhardy” to hurt North Korea, and that the US is trying to prevent inter-Korea relations from improving.
  • The comments seem to be a response to an interview by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who, while indicating the potential for a softer approach, said the US will maintain maximum pressure on Pyongyang.

North Korean is ready for both dialogue and war, state-run news agency KCNA said Monday.

In an op-ed, KCNA said the US is trying to derail inter-Korean relations by keeping military options on the table.

“It is obviously an expression of a hideous attempt to block the improvement of inter-Korean relations and again coil up the military tension on the Korean peninsula,” KCNA said.

Using the country’s official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the article also said, “the DPRK is fully ready for both dialogue and war,” and that it would be “naive and foolhardy” for the US to “hurt” North Korea.

The statement came shortly after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told 60 Minutes he would continue diplomatic efforts with North Korea “until that first bomb drops.”

“We don’t know precisely how much time is left on the clock,” Tillerson said on Sunday evening, adding that the US will keep up its policy of maximum pressure until Pyongyang tells him they are ready to talk.

Tillerson’s messaging reiterated that of Vice President Mike Pence, who told The Washington Post last week the US approach is one of “maximum pressure and engagement at the same time.”

North Korea’s latest statement seemed to be directly responding to these two interviews, saying the vice president and secretary of state are “vying with each other to build a world of public opinion.”

Pyongyang also seemed particularly aggrieved by the US State Department’s change to its travel advisory last month. Travellers to North Korea are now warned to draft a will, designate a power of attorney and discuss funeral plans with loved ones before their visit.

“The Trump group spouted jargons that tourists should write a will before making a trip to the DPRK. If the U.S. dares to ignite a war against the DPRK, there will be left no one to keep a written will and bury a coffin,” KCNA said.

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