Photo, above: The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the Pacific Ocean in an undated file photo provided by the U.S. Navy.

North Korea is vowing that it will conduct a preemptive nuclear strike, likely on South Korea or Japan, if it feels threatened, and according to recent statements coming out of the Hermit Kingdom, they feel threatened.

PYONGYANGNorth Korea says it is “on the brink of war” with the U.S.

In an interview with CBS News’ Ben Tracy, one of the nation’s senior officials has accused the Trump administration of wanting to “annihilate” his country and blamed the escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula squarely on the U.S. and South Korea.

A U.S. Navy strike group, with the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier in the middle, is heading toward the peninsula as the region braces for the isolated regime to conduct its expected sixth nuclear test.

Satellite analysis suggests the regime of Kim Jong Un is “primed and ready” to conduct such a test underground, and there is strong suspicion they’ll do it this weekend to coincide with a major national holiday.

With that backdrop, North Korea’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Han Song Ryol sat down with Tracy in Pyongyang for a 40 minute interview, and he didn’t mince any words.

Han said the situation between the U.S. and North Korea is the worst it has ever been, and if provoked, his country is ready and willing to fight a war. He said North Korea’s nuclear program is non-negotiable.

“In one word, Trump is openly pursuing a policy to annihilate North Korea by force of arms,” alleged Han.

He said President Trump’s decision to send the navy strike group to the region, as well as a large-scale, ongoing joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise in the area, were deliberate provocations.

“If the U.S. comes up with a dangerous military option, then the first card is in our hands. We’ll deal with it with our pre-emptive strike. This means war,” Han said.

Tracy sought to clarify Han’s remark; “So you are saying if you feel North Korea is going to be attacked, you will use nuclear weapons?”

“Of course,” Han replied.

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