North Korea’s foreign ministry declared on Wednesday night that the outbreak of war on the Korean peninsula was “an established fact”, Reuters reports.
The ministry cited large military drills being carried out by the United States and South Korea and U.S. threats of a preemptive war against Pyongyang.
A spokesman for the North’s foreign ministry also blamed “confrontational warmongering” remarks by U.S. officials for pushing the peninsula to the brink of war.
“The remaining question now is: when will the war break out?” the spokesman said in a statement carried by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency.
“We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it,” he said.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen markedly in recent months after North Korea’s latest missile and nuclear tests, conducted in defiance of international pressure and United Nations resolutions.
Last week, North Korea launched a Hwasong-15 missile, a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which officials said can fly over 13,000 km (8,080 miles).
Pyongyang said following the launch that it had test-fired its most advanced missile, putting the U.S. mainland within range.
The isolated country also declared itself to be "a responsible nuclear power" and said its nuclear weapons were developed in order to provide protection from "the U.S. imperialists’ nuclear blackmail policy and nuclear threat."
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said on the weekend the possibility of war with North Korea was “increasing every day”.
On Wednesday, a U.S. B-1B bomber joined the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which are called “Vigilant Ace” and will run until Friday.
North Korea, which regularly threatens South Korea, the United States and their allies, has denounced the exercises.
“Recently, as the U.S. is conducting the largest-ever joint aerial drill on the Korean peninsula targeting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, its high-level politicians are showing alarming signs by making bellicose remarks one after another,” the North’s foreign ministry spokesman said, according to Reuters.
“These confrontational war-mongering remarks cannot be interpreted in any other way but as a warning to us to be prepared for a war on the Korean peninsula,” he warned.