(CNN) – A North Korean official has lashed out at US Vice President Mike Pence and said Pyongyang is ready for a nuclear showdown if dialogue with the United States fails.
Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, said if the US continued on its current path, she would suggest to North Korea’s leadership that they reconsider the planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“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,” Choe said in comments carried by North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency Thursday.
Choe was responding to comments by Pence made during a Fox News interview that she deemed “unbridled and impudent.”
Pence was asked about recent remarks by US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said the US would look to the negotiations with Libya during the early 2000s when dealing with North Korea.
“There was some talk about the Libya model,” Pence told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum. “As the President made clear, this will only end like the Libya model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal.”
When MacCallum said that some people may have seen Bolton’s comments as a threat, Pence said “I think it’s more of a fact.”
North Korea has long cited Libya’s case as the reason it needs nuclear weapons. Less than a decade after Moammar Gadhafi agreed to abandon its nuclear aspirations in a deal with the United States, he was ousted from power and killed with the help of NATO-backed forces.
Choe called Pence a “political dummy” for comparing Libya to North Korea. She said that Libya’s nuclear program was in its early stages when it came to the negotiating table, while North Korea has spent years developing its nuclear weapons.
“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,” she said.
Trump and Kim are set to meet in Singapore on June 12 for the first-ever meeting between a sitting US President and North Korean leader, but the North Koreans have expressed displeasure over recent comments by the United States and joint military exercises between Washington and Seoul.
Independent North Korea analysts believe that Choe, a diplomat who focuses on the US-North Korea relationship, is a rising star in North Korea’s Foreign Ministry. She was reportedly promoted to vice minister earlier this year.