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PressTV delegation in North Korea amid tensions

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Participants in a mass rally chant slogans as they gather before a banner reading, "let us be guns and rifles defending the respected supreme leader Kim Jong-un with our lives" on Kim Il-sung square in Pyongyang on September 23, 2017. (AFP photo)

Iran's 24-hour English news network, PressTV, has dispatched a team of journalists to North Korea to gauge first-hand the public mood and official reaction in the face of mounting threats by the United States and allies against the country.

The team arrived in Pyongyang amid escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, where the United States and allies, including South Korea, have been threatening the North with a strong military action if it continues to expand its weapons and nuclear program.

The North, however, seems defiant in the face of the threats, as the government warns that its response to provocations will be harsh.

Hamid Javani, the PressTV correspondent in Pyongyang, said most North Koreans were undeterred by US President Donald Trump’s threats.

“These people here, as we have witnessed, they’re living in peace, they’re very hard-working people,” said Javani from Pyongyang, where he has described the PressTV team as “lucky enough to be able to talk” to people on the streets.

Javani further said most of those he met mocked Trump’s threats of annihilation of North Korea.

“... most of them were laughing in the beginning for a few seconds. I think that they were not surprised by [these statements],” said the reporter, who along with other PressTV journalists have been able to watch developments along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the most heavily guarded frontier in the world that separates the two Koreas.

In another live broadcast from Pyongyang, Javani said the Koreans acknowledge the effect of the sanctions on their economy, but are "ready to defend their country." 

Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea in his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

During his speech, Trump also said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was “on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” and that if the US was “forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

North Korea responded on Thursday with its foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, saying,“There is a saying that the marching goes on even when dogs bark.”

“If he was thinking he could scare us with the sound of a dog barking, that’s really a dog dream,” Ri added upon his arrival in New York.

'Trump on suicide mission'

Meanwhile, during his address at the UN General Assembly, Ri said that Trump's speech at the UN was reckless and violent and no one other than the US president himself is on a "suicide mission."

He said Trump had made “our rockets' visit to the entire US mainland inevitable” by calling the North Korean leader "rocket man".

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho addresses the 72nd session of the United Nations General assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on September 23, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

He added that Trump is trying to turn the UN into "gangsters nest where money is respected and bloodshed is the order of the day."

Pyongyang will make sure that Trump bears consequences far beyond his words and far beyond the scope of what he can handle even if he is ready to do so, the North Korean foreign minister stressed.

“Through such a prolonged and arduous struggle, now we are finally only a few steps away from the final gate of completion of the state nuclear force,” Ri said

“It is only a forlorn hope to consider any chance that the DPRK (North Korea) would be shaken an inch or change its stance due to the harsher sanctions by the hostile forces,” he said.

North Korea tested its latest and the most powerful nuclear bomb earlier this month and said the weapon was on the path of completion to fit its intercontinental ballistic missiles. Pyongyang has warned that if the United States and allies continue to threaten the existence of North Korea, it would respond by targeting any place in the US mainland within the reach of its long-range missiles.

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