Washington, – The United States is ready to launch a pre-emptive attack against North Korea if intelligence indicates that Pyongyang is about to conduct another nuclear weapons test, according to a U.S. media report.

U.S. officials believe a sixth North Korean nuclear test could take place on either Saturday or Sunday, and the U.S. is ready to prevent it with Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from two destroyers, one of which is only 300 km off the North Korean coast, NBC television reported, citing multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials.

U.S. bombers could also fly from their base on Guam in the Pacific Ocean to hit North Korean nuclear-related targets, the report said. The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier is also steaming towards North Korea.

North Korea said it would use its nuclear weapons and “hit the U.S. first” if the U.S. were about to attack, raising tensions on the Korean peninsula to their highest level in years.

“By relentlessly bringing in a number of strategic nuclear assets to the Korean peninsula, the U.S. is gravely threatening the peace and safety and driving the situation to the brink of a nuclear war,” North Korea said in a statement.

The North also has enough conventional firepower to seriously threaten the South’s capital of Seoul.

“U.S. officials, mindful of such concerns here, repeatedly reaffirmed that [the U.S.] will closely discuss with South Korea its North Korea-related measures,” Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se told a special parliamentary meeting. “In fact, the U.S. is working to reassure us that it will not, just in case that we might hold such concerns.” (QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency