The hermit state’s leader Kim Jong-un regularly threatens to destroy Japan, South Korea and the US and has shown no let-up in his belligerence after a failed missile test followed a huge display of missiles at a parade in Pyongyang.
The latest threat was a repeat warning of a nuclear strike against the US if provoked.
The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, did not mince its words and warned the US and its allies "should not mess with us".
Kim Jong-un has threatened the US with a super-mighty pre-emptive strike
Forbidden photographs depict the true North Korean army
Wed, April 12, 2017
While tourists are able to visit North Korea as part of a controlled tour group, they are asked by their handlers to never take photographs of soldiers. These pictures taken by photographer Eric Lafforgue show the reality of military service in the secretive state
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Soldiers enjoy ice-cream in Pyongyang
Donald Trump is taking a hardline stance with North Korea
Don't mess with us!
It said: “In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only US imperialists' invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the US mainland and reduce them to ashes.”
Pyongyang said it has developed a missile that can strike the mainland US but officials and experts believe it is a long way off from mastering the necessary technology.
But Washington’s hardliners are losing patience with the North Korean regime.
Mr Trump has taken a tough stance with Kim, who has ignored a ticking off from China and proceeded with nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions.
Kim Jong-un regularly issues threats against the US and its allies
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said: ”We're reviewing all the status of North Korea, both in terms of state sponsorship of terrorism as well as the other ways in which we can bring pressure on the regime in Pyongyang to re-engage with us, but re-engage with us on a different footing than past talks have been held.”
US Vice President Mike Pence has said repeatedly the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea is over.
And House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said the military option must be part of the pressure brought to bear.
He said: ”Allowing this dictator to have that kind of power is not something that civilised nations can allow to happen.”
Mr Ryan said he was encouraged by the results of efforts to work with China to reduce tensions but that it was unacceptable North Korea might be able to strike allies with nuclear weapons.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wants to put pressure on North Korea
He spoke as US and South Korean armed forces continued with intensive military training exercises codenamed Max Thunder in the region.
South Korean pilot Lieutenant Colonel Lee Bum-chul said: “We are conducting a practical and more intensive exercise than ever.
“Through this exercise, I am sure we can deter war and remove our enemy's intention to provoke us.”
There has been some confusion over the whereabouts of a US aircraft carrier group after Mr Trump said he had sent an "armada" as a warning to North Korea, even as the ships were still far from Korean waters.
USS Carl Vinson strike group is thought to be heading for the Korean Peninsula
The US military's Pacific Command explained that the USS Carl Vinson strike group first had to complete a shorter-than-planned period of training with Australia. It was now heading for the Western Pacific as ordered.
China's influential Global Times newspaper, which is published by the People's Daily, the Communist Party's official paper, suggest the misdirection was deliberate.
It said: ”The truth seems to be that the US military and president jointly created fake news and it is without doubt a rare scandal in US history, which will be bound to cripple Trump's and US dignity.”