North Korea bristled strongly at US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's warning of military strikes against the communist nation, saying it is fully ready for "any war" with the US.
The North's Foreign Ministry also said that the world will soon see how significant its recent test of a large-scale rocket engine was, an apparent threat to use the engine to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US.
"The US should face up to the situation of the world with its eyes wide open. The DPRK has the will and capability to fully respond to any war the US would like to ignite," a spokesman of the North's ministry said, according to Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency.
"If the businessmen-turned US authorities thought that they would frighten the DPRK, they would soon know that their method would not work on the latter. The world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won by the DPRK in the recent ground jet test of Korean-style high-thrust engine will carry," the spokesman said.
It was the North's first response to Tillerson's warning.
While visiting Seoul and Tokyo last week, Tillerson said that the two decades of diplomatic efforts to disarm the North failed, and there was no point in pursuing the diplomatic path any longer.
He also said that the US was considering a wide range of options, including the use of military force.
Tillerson also declared an end to former President Barack Obama's much-denounced North Korea policy, known as "strategic patience," which centers on waiting for Pyongyang to show good faith while increasing sanctions and pressure on the regime.
"Now Tillerson is repeating what Obama touted much sanctions until he left the White House," the North's spokesman said. "What matters is that neither Obama nor Tillerson knows the reason why the DPRK had to have access to nuclear weapons and why it is dynamically bolstering up the nuclear force."
Pyongyang has long claimed it was compelled to develop nuclear weapons to cope with US threats of aggression. (Yonhap)