A senior North Korean official forcefully condemned comments that US Vice President Mike Pence made recently during an interview with Fox News.
Pence reignited concerns over the US's strategy for upcoming diplomatic talks with North Korea on Monday, after suggesting the North could end up like Libya if it doesn't agree to fully cooperate with the US.
The North Korean official threatened to recommend pulling out of the planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
North Korea fired some highly charged statements toward US Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday, all but torching what had been an otherwise conciliatory mood that the White House hoped to carry into a historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Choe Son Hui, North Korea's vice minister of foreign affairs, called out Pence in a scathing statement and threatened to scuttle the Trump-Kim meeting set to take place in Singapore next month.
"Vice President Pence has made unbridled and impudent remarks that North Korea might end like Libya, military option for North Korea never came off the table, the US needs complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization, and so on," Choe said in a statement, according to North Korea's leading propaganda outlet.
"As a person involved in the US affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice president," Choe said.
The vice minister referred to earlier comments Pence made in interviews that sparked controversy. Pence served up a veiled threat that North Korea could end up like Libya if it doesn't agree to fully cooperate with the US.
Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi voluntarily gave up his country's nuclear weapons program in 2003. Eight years later, rebel forces killed him violently, and his demise was on full display for the world to see.
"There was some talk about the Libyan model last week," Pence said in an interview on Fox News. "As the president made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn't make a deal."
Choe went on to suggest that the US-North Korea summit — which would be the first time a sitting US president meets a North Korean leader — might be a pipe dream.
"In case the US offends against our goodwill and clings to unlawful and outrageous acts, I will put forward a suggestion to our supreme leadership for reconsidering the DPRK-US summit," Choe said, referring to North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States."
North Korea typically conveys its most heated rhetoric through state propaganda outlets. The loquacious and colorful messages are often directed at US and South Korean officials. The statements often exaggerate their alleged offenses.
Trump, who met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in this week to discuss the upcoming summit with Kim, also appeared noncommittal about what's next.
"It could very well happen. Whatever it is, we'll know next week about Singapore," Trump said to reporters on Wednesday. "And if we go, I think it will be a great thing for North Korea."
A White House negotiating team and North Korean officials are reportedly scheduled to meet in Singapore this weekend to discuss the summit's agenda and logistics.