North Korea threats at 'unprecedented, critical' level, Japan official says

The threat of nuclear war posed by North Korea has grown to an “unprecedented” level amid escalating tensions with the rogue regime and now requires the U.S., Japan and South Korea to demonstrate “different responses” to the threat, a Japanese official said Monday.

Speaking with the U.S. and South Korean counterparts at a meeting of Asian defense chiefs in the Philippines, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said “(The) threat posed by North Korea has grown to the unprecedented, critical and imminent level,” according to a Reuters report. “Therefore, we have to take calibrated and different responses to meet with that level of threat.”

In this Aug. 3, 2017 photo, Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera speaks during a press conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo. Onodera is sounding an alarm on North Korea, saying its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities have grown to what he called an "unprecedented, critical and imminent" level.   (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said that threats from North Korea have grown to an "unprecedented" level.  (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had similar remarks, noting that North Korea’s ongoing intimidations “threaten regional and global security.”

“North Korea’s provocative behavior is becoming worse and worse,” South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-Moo added.

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The comments among defense chiefs follows a report that North Korea’s biological weapons program could kill tens of thousands of people and “create panic and paralyze societies.”

According to Reuters, the defense ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), highlighted the “need to maintain peace and stability in the region” and called “for the exercise of self-restraint and the resumption of dialogue to de-escalate tensions in the Korean peninsula.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called President Donald Trump a “lunatic” on Sunday for taking the U.S. and its “poor puppet forces” straight “into ruin.”

kim jong un reuters

Kim Jong Un on Sunday called President Trump a "lunatic" for taking the U.S. straight "into ruin."  (KCNA via REUTERS)

The president last week said he would “certainly take a look” at visiting the DMZ, or demilitarized zone, after he was invited to tour U.S. Army installation Camp Humphreys, located south of Seoul, the South Korean capital.

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein recently said the military branch was preparing to place its fleet of nuclear-armed B-52 bombers on 24-hour alert status, noting that in a world where “we’ve got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons,” it’s important to remain alert and remain prepared.