(WASHINGTON) — One day after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned that the time had come to “settle accounts with the U.S.,” the White House responded, calling Kim’s comments “unconstructive.”
“We’ve seen reports of a new and unconstructive statement from North Korea. We take these threats seriously and remain in close contact with our South Korean allies,” said Caitlin Hayden, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council.
In the statement, Hayden did note that North Korea “has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats,” a pattern followed by Friday’s threat.
Kim’s statements on Friday declared a “state of war” with South Korea. He additionally threatened to respond to any provocation by South Korea or the United States “without any prior notice.”
The Pentagon continues to take every North Korean threat seriously. Recently, plans were announced to increase U.S. ground-based interceptors and early warning and tracking radar.
“We’re concerned that their reach in and beyond the region will be extended over time,” said a senior defense official. “That’s one reason why it’s all the more important to show that the United States is committed to our alliances, interests, and personnel in the Asia-Pacific.”
South Korean media reported on Friday that North Korea’s missile sites have been the location of increased activity. However, the South Korean government has said that there is no evidence to suggest the threats are anything more than propaganda.
Thousands of North Koreans gathered in Kim Il Sung Square on Friday in support of their leader’s strong words. The rally came just one day after U.S. B-2 stealth bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula.
According to USA Today, North Korea’s military, while poorly trained and equipped, is large enough to cause significant damage to its southern neighbor, before ultimately falling to a joint effort between South Korea and the U.S.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Kevin Liptak, CNN
Steve Almasy, CNN
James Griffiths and Shen Lu
Georgia McCafferty and Junko Ogura, CNN