SEOUL, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- The North Korean government vowed Tuesday to retaliate should the United States launch a pre-emptive strike on its nuclear facilities.
Satellite imagery of a North Korean facility indicates that Pyongyang is preparing for as many as two nuclear tests.
Concerns about a nuclear test followed the December launch of a long-range rocket from North Korea that orbited a satellite. Similar launches in 2006 and 2009 coincided with North Korean nuclear tests.
A statement Tuesday from the Minju Chosun newspaper of the North Korean Cabinet warned it would "ruthlessly strike" the United States if it's nuclear facilities were targeted in a pre-emptive strike, reports South Korean's Yonhap news agency.
The latest rhetoric from Pyongyang suggested a possible nuclear test was part of its anti-U.S. policies.
Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in talks with Japanese and South Korean counterparts about security on the Korean Peninsula.
"If the Democratic People's Republic of Korea continues its provocative behavior and takes further steps, that there must be further consequences (as outlined in Security Council resolutions)," she said.