White House says it’s taking North Korean ‘state of war’ threat ‘seriously’

The White House on Saturday said it was taking threats of war from North Korea “seriously,” while acknowledging that Pyongyang has a “long record of bellicose rhetoric.”

“We take these threats seriously and remain in close contact with our South Korean Allies,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council in a statement. “But, we would also note that North Korea has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats and today's announcement follows that familiar pattern.”

Hayden’s remarks came in response to a North Korean statement released early Saturday declaring that a “state of war” existed with the South and threatening to “dissolve” the United States in an “all-out war and nuclear war.”

The declaration from the rogue regime raised tensions further on the Korean peninsula. Pyongyang has ratcheted up its rhetoric in recent weeks, after the United Nations tightened sanctions on the country following its third nuclear test.

North Korea has cut the military hotline with the South and earlier this week said that the armistice ending the Korean War in 1953 was void.

The administration has said it is prepared to defend the U.S. and allies from any further North Korean provocations.

Earlier this week Secretary of Defense Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelHagel: Trump is 'an embarrassment' Tax cut complete, hawks push for military increase Pentagon documents hundreds of serious misconduct cases against top brass MORE said the Pentagon would beef up missile defenses in Alaska. And the Air Force sent two B-2 stealth bombers on a military training exercise to the Korean peninsula.

“As Secretary Hagel said on Thursday, we remain fully prepared and capable of defending and protecting the United States and our Allies,” said Hayden on Saturday. “We continue to take additional measures against the North Korean threat, including our plan to increase the U.S. ground-based interceptors and early warning and tracking radar, and the signing of the ROK-U.S. counter-provocation plan.”