North Korea issues fresh threat, says it's close to final goal
North Korea' foreign minister stoked renewed tensions in northeast Asia, saying the US president had set the region on a course towards war, adding that his country's nuclear weapons programme could never be a subject of negotiation and that Pyongyang was close to achieving a real balance-of-power with America.
Speaking to Russia's TASS state news agency, Ri Yong Ho claimed that North Korea's nuclear programme posed no threat to peace and safety in the surrounding region. Indeed, he believed it guaranteed it.
"With his bellicose and insane statement at the United Nations, Trump, you can say, has lit the wick of a war against us," TASS quoted Mr Ri as saying [...] we need to settle the final score, only with a hail of fire, not words".
"We have almost reached the last point on the journey towards our final goal - to achieve a real balance-of-power with the United States."
Last month, Mr Ri had also blamed Trump for declaring war after the 45th president of the United States tweeted that leader Kim Jong-un "won't be around much longer".
Tensions between the two countries had escalated over recent months as the Trump administration ratcheted up efforts, alongside international allies, to curb Kim Jong-un's expanding nuclear and ballistic weapons programme.
On previous occasions, Defence Secretary James Mattis has indicated that his administration was still striving for a peaceful resolution of the standoff, even while asking the US army to be prepared should military action be ordered by its Commander-in-Chief.