Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said that the United States should be prepared to launch a pre-emptive strike "right now" against North Korea, warning that its "deranged" president Kim Jong Un could attempt a nuclear attack on America.
“In terms of the capability we have out there with the F-22s and the battleships … a pre-emptive strike from something like that would get their attention.’’
Inhofe went on to say that Kim Jong Un, unlike his father, was not a reliable actor that could be reasoned with.
“[He] is just as bad as his daddy was. He’s not reliable in terms of what he might do, what he might say, but he is capable of doing it because he’s deranged,’’ Inhofe said.
In a statement published by a state news agency on Wednesday, North Korea warned that it would respond to American provocations with "cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means."
"The merciless operation of [our] revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified," the statement continued, adding that the United States "had better ponder over the prevailing grave situation."
The White House said such provocations would only further damage relations with the rest of the international community.
"It’s important to say that, in every instance, this refusal to abide by its international obligations and to engage in threats and provocative rhetoric and behavior only serves to isolate North Korea further, to make it more and more difficult for the North Korean economy to develop, and imposes more and more hardships on the North Korean people," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
The White House spokesman added that the North Korean threat should be viewed in "context."
"The behavior of the regime in Pyongyang that we are seeing now represents a familiar pattern," Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday. "So we are taking the necessary precautionary measures, but it is important to view this within the context of the kind of behavior that we’ve seen out of North Korea in the past."
But Inhofe said the provocations from North Korea should be a "wake up call" to the Obama Administration.
“They’ve had this capability for a long period of time. Now, when they admit that they have enough plutonium for six to eight bombs, I believe that that’s true. Maybe even more than that, so it is dangerous ... So we’re going to do what’s necessary," Inhofe said.