North Korea issues warning that nuclear war with United States could 'break out at any moment'
For month after tense month, North Korea and the United States have been dancing an extremely dangerous dance.
It has felt for some time now that the two countries are tip-toeing ever closer to a precipice from which there can be no return. If the relationship between the two countries can be characterised by anything at this point, it is by the bombast, near constant enmity and militaristic rhetoric that have served only to perpetuate the increasingly fraught situation on the Korean peninsula.
Such posturing has alarmed major superpowers Russia and China, who have both called consistently for a diplomatic solution to be established before the rhetorical barbs become something more physically damaging.
Any such solution, though, appears perhaps farther away at this point than any previous years. Recent months have seen North Korea continue to willingly defy sanctions placed upon it by several countries and international bodies in pursuit of the development of nuclear weapons with the capability of hitting the United States.
It was with dismay that the international community reacted to reports that North Korea had test fired a missile that flew over a portion of Japan, and, mere hours later, the South Korean military conducted a mission that saw eight MK-84 bombs dropped close to the country's border with North Korea in an apparent show of military strength.
Now, after a period of relative quiet on the peninsula, North Korea's deputy UN ambassador has described the situation as "touch and go", warning that "a nuclear war may break out at any moment."
The Independent further reports that Kim In Ryong told a gathering of the UN's disarmament committee that no country has been the subject of "such an extreme and direct nuclear threat" from the United States since the 1970's, arguing that North Korea has the right to possess nuclear weapons itself in the interests of self defence.
Kim In Ryong further alleged the country has completed its;
"State nuclear force and thus became the full-fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges, including the atomic bomb, H-bomb and intercontinental ballistic rockets.
"The entire US mainland is within our firing range and if the US dares to invade our sacred territory even an inch it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe".
Meanwhile, The President of Russia Vladamir Putin has advised that his country is calling a halt to economic ties - among others - with North Korea to abide by UN sanctions, while American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pledged to continue to search for a diplomatic solution "until the first bomb drops".
Kim In Ryong, though, has said that his country's weapons are not up for negotiation at this point;
"Unless the hostile policy and the nuclear threat of the US is thoroughly eradicated, we will never put our nuclear weapons and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table under any circumstances."
World leaders and onlookers will be hoping that a peaceful resolution could yet be found on the Korean peninsula could yet be found; a failure to do so would surely prove catastrophic to all involved.