The White House said Tuesday that the US is fully capable of protecting itself from a North Korean nuclear attack.
The regime in Pyongyang is threatening a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the United States.
It has also threatened to abrogate the ceasefire that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, as early as Monday.
The threats were issued ahead of a United Nations Security Council meeting, which adopted new sanctions against North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
It's all a bit surreal.
In fact it's hard to think of another country right now that's fodder for both late night comedy skits and stone-faced UN Security Council meetings.
Ambassador Chris Hill, the former chief US negotiator, with North Korea says Pyongyang "has no capability" to carry out an attack.
"Being North Korea is to say one thing on Tuesday and forget you said it on Wednesday," he says.
But the threat illustrates a heightened level of rhetoric coming from a regime under increasing pressure, says Hill.
The key thing, he adds, is that it seems China has had enough of their former ally.