DEBKAfile April 20, 2017, 1:12 PM (GMT+02:00)
North Korea issued a statement on Thursday via its state-run media threatening the US with a "super-mighty preemptive strike" that it claimed would "completely and immediately wipe out" not only US forces in South Korea and surrounding areas, but also those on the U.S. mainland "and reduce them to ashes." US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the previous day that Washington is reviewing the status of North Korea, including its support for global terror, and examining ways of pressuring the North to return to the negotiating table. Vice President Mike Pence stated this week during a trip to several Asian countries that "the era of strategic patience" with Pyongyang has ended. Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan said during a visit to Britain that the US shouldn't rule out the use of military force against the North's nuclear program. Referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, he said "Allowing this dictator to have that kind of power is not something that civilized nations can allow to happen."