North Korea Says That Nuclear War Could Happen “At Any Moment”

by Lilli Petersen
Handout/Getty Images News/Getty Images

North Korea is yet again leveling bombastic threats against the United States — or they might be just plain “bombing” threats. North Korea’s Deputy UN Ambassador said on Oct. 16 that the situation on the Korean peninsula was “touch and go” and that nuclear war could break out at “any moment.” So if you've been asking will North Korea bomb the U.S. — time to invest in that bomb shelter, guys!

Kim In-ryong told the UN general assembly’s committee on nuclear disarmament that the North Korean approach to the situation was in response to threats from the United States, according to The Guardian. Kim said that the country had been subject to an “extreme and direct nuclear threat.” He added,

Unless the hostile policy and the nuclear threat of the U.S. is thoroughly eradicated, we will never put our nuclear weapons and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table under any circumstances.

So this is going great, guys.

The comments come only shortly after a back-and-forth between President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about the approach to North Korea. On Oct. 15, Tillerson reinforced the United States' commitment to diplomacy with North Korea, saying that "diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops"— which is only reassuring in the most generous of terms.

Tillerson's comment came after President Trump's assertion that the secretary of state was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with North Korea. The president tweeted on Oct. 1 that the United States would "do what has to be done" about the ongoing feud between the two countries.

The president has also spent the past two months aggravating an already tense situation with the small country.

Back in August, Trump declared in an off-the-cuff comment that any further threats by North Korea would be met with "fire and fury," to which North Korea responded by threatening the U.S. territory of Guam.

And then, barely a month later, Trump antagonized North Korea again during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 19, when he said that the United States would "totally destroy" North Korea. He said,

The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.

And it's all not even to mention the fact that Trump gave North Korean leader Kim Jong-un the nickname of "Rocket Man," which doesn't even have the benefit of being terribly clever.

North Korea, in turn, suggested that it could test a powerful hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean, and suggested that Trump's tweets had been the opening strains of a war between the two countries. In an interview with Russian state media on Oct. 11, North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, said,

With his bellicose and insane statement at the United Nations, Trump, you can say, has lit the wick of a war against us. We need to settle the final score, only with a hail of fire, not words.

Cue nervous laughter.

In the meantime, joint U.S.-South Korean naval drills in the waters around the Korean peninsula began on Oct. 16, according to CNN, which is also ticking off North Korea. State media called the drills, which are planned to last for 10 days, "reckless moves" that might force the small country to "take counteractions." The drills feature a U.S. aircraft carrier and guided-missile destroyers.

So the volatile situation between the two nations is only getting hotter. I'd say it was terrifying, but it's been terrifying for so long that the terror is almost starting to feel normal. Yet another feature of the Donald Trump presidency.