A high-ranking North Korean official has warned that Pyongyang’s threats of testing a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean should be taken "literally."
During a Wednesday interview with CNN, the North Korean Foreign Ministry official, Ri Yong-pil, stressed that his country "has always brought its words into action."
While addressing the United Nations General Assembly last month, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho announced that the North may test a powerful hydrogen bomb in the near future.
The announcement was made shortly after US President Donald Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea during his UN address.
“The foreign minister is very well aware of the intentions of our supreme leader, so I think you should take his words literally," said the Foreign Ministry official.
"The US is talking about a military option and even practicing military moves. They're pressuring us on all fronts with sanctions. If you think this will lead to diplomacy, you're deeply mistaken," he added.
The standoff over North Korea escalated in July when it test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). Experts say the entire US mainland is within the range of the missiles, which North Korea says could be equipped with nuclear warheads.
North Korea has blamed the US for escalating tensions, saying Washington’s engineering of crippling international sanctions on the country and its increased military presence in the region have left the government in Pyongyang with no option but to shore up its defense capabilities.