After U.S. President Donald Trump called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a "rocket man" on Tuesday and claimed that Washington could use military force against Pyeongyang if it must, North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said that such comments would be a "very dangerous challenge" if they were not made in error.
Choe added that Pyeongyang could resume the tit-for-tat name-calling against the U.S., if similar expressions are used again.
Pak Jong-chon, the Chief of General Staff of the Korean People's Army also lashed out at Trump, saying that the regime will also take "prompt corresponding action at any level", if the U.S. does indeed use military force against the North.
With the latest war of words, North Korea expert Shin Beom-chul says that the possibility of progress in denuclearization talks before Kim Jong-un's end of year deadline seems low.
"I think the chances are low. The two clearly want different things. Pyeongyang practically wants to keep its nuclear weapons and Washington wants them to denuclearize. By looking at their latest exchange of words, the possibility of working-level negotiations also seems to be low."
Shin also said that if this atmosphere continues in the coming weeks, the North could proceed with what Kim Jong-un previously warned of a "new way" next year if Washington fails to offer an acceptable proposal by the deadline.
"If this continues, a new strategic plan could be revealed during the North's full session of the Workers Party Central Committee later this month, which could lead to the regime announcing a hardline approach next year."
The expert however said that with U.S. Special Representative Stephen Biegun set to visit South Korea in the coming days, and especially if he meets his North Korean counterpart on the border, there's still a chance for a breakthrough in the stalled denuclearization talks.
Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.