U.S. State Department responds to North Korean threats

Victoria Nuland, the spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, responded to questions about the latest threats by North Korea in a daily press briefing on Thursday.

When asked about the gap between North Korea's rhetoric and its actions, Nuland said that the U.S. is taking all necessary steps to prepare for missile movement, military force movement or any other actions in the country.

"We are taking the appropriate steps in terms of defense of the United States, in terms of defense of our allies, both the Republic of Korea and Japan," Nuland said. "We are making those clear, and we are watching very closely, obviously, what the D.P.R.K. is up to."

Nuland was asked whether the State Department thought North Korean leader Kim Jong-un might be using recent threats to extort more aid and attention to its domestic problems from the international community. Nuland said if that is what Kim is thinking, he is going about it in the wrong way.

"The D.P.R.K. knows what it needs to do if it wants to make a different choice," Nuland said. "If it wants to have support from the international community economically, in terms of supporting its people, it's got to come back into compliance with its international obligations. The President's been clear, the Secretary's been clear, that if they make a different choice, we will respond. But unfortunately, all we've seen in response to those offers has been more aggressive rhetoric."

When asked about a specific reaction to North Korea's Wednesday announcement that it has final approval to carry out nuclear attacks on the U.S., Nuland said such statements will not help North Korea in the long run.

"This is just the latest in a long line of aggressive statements," Nuland said. "These are only going to serve to further isolate the D.P.R.K. and make it harder for the international community to work with them, but they have a different choice. They have a different choice, and they're not choosing to take it."