This statement which also referred to the nuclear reactor and uranium enrichment plant took the Korean crisis a step closer to the brink, after Washington decided to keep the USS Fitzgerald in Korean waters.  The destroyer and its Aegis interceptor, which took part in a military exercise with South Korea, are to stay near the Korean peninsula, along with F-22 Raptor stealth fighters at a base in the South, ready to defend South Korea against threatened missile strikes from Pyongyang, said the Pentagon Monday night.

After the North declared a state of war with Seoul Saturday, South Korean President Park Geun-Hye reiterated that they are taking the North’s threats “very seriously” and are prepared for immediate retaliation against any provocations.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that while no change has been monitored in North Korea’s military posture, the continued threats against Seoul, the United States and its allies in the Pacific (which might include Japan since they host US military bases in Okinawa) are still cause for concern.