The North Korean government is threatening military strikes against South Korea and the United States.
"From this moment, the North-South relations will be put at the state of war and all the issues arousing between the north and the south will be dealt with according to the wartime regulations," a government statement, posted on North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency, said.
North Korean officials warn that nuclear weapons are the nation's lifeline and will not be traded even for billions of dollars. The comments came in a statement released after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presided over a meeting with senior officials in which he called for a stronger economy and a nuclear arsenal.
In light of the threats, the United States joined South Korea in military drills, sending two F-22 stealth fighter jets from Japan over to South Korea.
The advanced, radar-evading F-22 Raptors were deployed from Japan to Osan Air Base, the main U.S. Air Force base in South Korea, to support ongoing bilateral exercises.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been mounting since the United Nations imposed sanctions over the North's nuclear test earlier this year.
"We have a range of options to counter their provocations and threats. Obviously we hope to never have to put those into effect," Pentagon spokesman George Little said.
The White House and Pentagon want to defuse escalating animosity although analysts say a full-scale conflict is very unlikely.
"As far as I see, this is not even government," Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told ABC's "This Week." "It's more like an organized crime family running a territory. They are brutal. He is brutal, his father was brutal. His grandfather was brutal."How serious is North Korea's threat against the United States? Cliff May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has more, on CBN Newswatch April 1, following this report.