Trump says North Korea will be met with 'fire and fury' if it threatens US

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned North Korea it would be met with "fire and fury" if it threatens the United States.

Earlier Pyongyang said it was ready to give Washington a "severe lesson" with its strategic nuclear force in response to any U.S. military action.

Washington has warned it is ready to use force if need be to stop North Korea's weapons ballistic missile and nuclear programs but has said it prefers global diplomatic action, including sanctions.

Click through images of North Korea's July 2017 missile test:

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A look at North Korea's July 2017 missile test
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A look at North Korea's July 2017 missile test
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides the second test-fire of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14 in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on July 29, 2017. KCNA via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS.� TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14 is pictured during its second test-fire in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on July 29, 2017. KCNA via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS.� TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People watch news report showing North Korea's Hwasong-14 missile launch on electronic screen at Pyongyang station, North Korea in this photo taken by Kyodo on July 29, 2017. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
The Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea hold a banquet at the Mokran House in celebration of the second successful test-fire of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) Hwasong-14, in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on July 30, 2017. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS.
The Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea hold a banquet at the Mokran House in celebration of the second successful test-fire of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) Hwasong-14, in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on July 30, 2017. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS.
Coverage of an ICBM missile test is displayed on a screen in a public square in Pyongyang on July 29, 2017. Kim Jong-Un boasted of North Korea's ability to strike any target in the US after a second ICBM test that weapons experts said on July 29 could even bring New York into range - in a potent challenge to President Donald Trump. / AFP PHOTO / Kim Won-Jin (Photo credit should read KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
A man and woman watch coverage of an ICBM missile test displayed on a screen in a public square in Pyongyang on July 29, 2017. Kim Jong-Un boasted of North Korea's ability to strike any target in the US after a second ICBM test that weapons experts said on July 29 could even bring New York into range - in a potent challenge to President Donald Trump. / AFP PHOTO / Kim Won-Jin (Photo credit should read KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
In this photo taken on July 29, 2017, a woman holding a mock rifle stands at a bus stop in Pyongyang. North Korea said July 30 its latest ICBM test was a 'warning' targeting the US for its efforts to slap new sanctions on Pyongyang and threatened a counter-strike if provoked militarily by Washington. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
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The consequences of a U.S. strike would potentially be catastrophic for South Koreans, Japanese and U.S. military personnel within range of North Korean retaliatory strikes.

"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," Trump told reporters at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Earlier on Tuesday, Japan's Defence Ministry said "It is conceivable that North Korea's nuclear weapons program has already considerably advanced and it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and has acquired nuclear warheads."

The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday over its continued missile tests that could slash the reclusive country's $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.

North Korea said the sanctions infringed its sovereignty and it was ready to give Washington a "severe lesson" with its strategic nuclear force in response to any U.S. military action.

North Korea has made no secret of its plans to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States and has ignored international calls to halt its nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea says its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are a legitimate means of defense against perceived U.S. hostility. It has long accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills.

U.S. stocks fell, with the S&P 500 at a session low after Trump's comment, while a widely followed measure of stock market anxiety spiked higher and was on track to close at a one-month high. The U.S. dollar index slightly pared gains as the safe-haven yen strengthened against the U.S. currency.

(Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo, Christine Kim in Seoul, Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey and David Brunnstrom in Washington, Amy Sawitta Lefevre in Bangkok and Rodrigo Campos in New York; Writing by Neil Fullick and Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Nick Macfie and James Dalgleish)

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