A senior diplomat in the North Korean Foreign Ministry told CNN on Wednesday that the world should take his country’s threat of a possible atmospheric nuclear test over the Pacific Ocean literally.

The official, Ri Yong Pil, said North Korea “has always brought its words into action”. “The foreign minister is very well aware of the intentions of our supreme leader, so I think you should take his words literally,” he added.

On September 22, North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho had said that Pyongyang could test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean. “It could be the most powerful detonation of a Hydrogen bomb in the Pacific,” he told reporters in New York. On September 19, United States President Donald Trump had said at the United Nations General Assembly that he would be forced to destroy North Korea if Washington is forced to defend itself.

Ri also implied that there may be no scope for diplomacy between the United States and North Korea, although US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has repeatedly said that Washington will continue with its diplomatic efforts.

Ri said, “The US is talking about a military option and even practicing military moves,” adding that Washington in putting pressure on North Korea on all fronts with sanctions. “If you think this will lead to diplomacy, you’re deeply mistaken.”

Tensions between the US and North Korea have been escalating since Pyongyang tested several missiles this year. In July, it twice launched a long-range missile that could potentially reach the US mainland. In September, it conducted its sixth and most powerful atomic explosion yet.

In September, North Korea had said it wanted its military to be at par with that of the US and claimed that they had nearly reached their goal of completing their nuclear programme.