"These [North Korea] officials feared that the USA was already trying to shape the battlefield for a military operation against the North, and that South Koreans do not seem to have grasped the reality that the Trump administration is set on a course for preventive war".
However, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un already said in his New Year message that, despite his desire to improve ties with South Korea, Pyongyang has no intention of suspending its nuclear programme and will continue to develop its weapons to prevent Washington from attacking its territory.
"I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un", Trump said. "I think you people are surprised".
Asked if he had spoken with Kim, Trump was evasive: "I'm not saying I have or haven't". I'm not saying I have or haven't.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said he may be open to diplomatic meetings with North Korea after months of trading insults and threats over its nuclear weapons program. "I just don't want to comment".
The North Korea monitoring site said on Thursday that throughout December 2017, there were "mining carts and personnel" as well as what appeared to be a "spoil pile" that had been greatly expanded at the test facility's west portal. They argue about whose nuclear button is bigger. North Korea continues to challenge the US on the world stage.
"You'll see that a lot with me", he said, "and then all of the sudden somebody's my best friend". You could give me 30. "The difference is I'm president, other people aren't".
North Korean diplomats are extremely serious about the possibility of war between North Korea and the United States, noting that the US has already prepared for it for months, a Russian expert said Wednesday.