WASHINGTON - The White House said on Saturday that it takes North Korea's latest saber-rattling threats seriously while cautioning that Pyongyang has a long history of bellicose rhetoric.
North Korea's latest bout of angry rhetoric included a vow that it is entering a "state of war" with South Korea a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed off on an order putting its missile units on standby to attack US military bases in the South.
"We've seen reports of a new and unconstructive statement from North Korea. We take these threats seriously and remain in close contact with our South Korean allies," said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.
"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," she said.
The United States flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula as part of a military exercise this week in a show of force to reassure US allies in the region.