According to CBS news, the official Korean Central News Agency stated that "if the U.S. imperialists start another war, the army and people of Korea will … wipe out the aggressors on the globe once and for all." According to the Associated Press, "the warning came on the eve of the 59th anniversary of the start of the three-year Korean War, which ended in a truce in 1953, not a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula in state of war." North Korea threatening the US is not a completely novel thing - interactions have been strained for years.
In April, North Korea launched a long-range rocket. On May 25 North Korea held its second underground atomic test. As a potential safeguard from a future threat from North Korea, there are currently 28,500 US troops in South Korea, in case of an outbreak of hostilities.
North Korea exited talks about nuclear disarmament after the U.N.'s condemnation of their underground atomic test. North Korea also warned that a long-range missile would be fired.
Japan's Coast Guard has reported that ships have been banned off of the east coast of North Korea beginning Thursday and until July 10, 2009.
According to the Associated Press, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Wednesday that North Korea may fire a Scud missile with a range of up to 310 miles (500 kilometers) or a short-range ground-to-ship missile with a range of 100 miles (160 kilometers) during the no-sail period.
The leader of North Korea, Kim-Jong il, suffered a stroke last year. He is currently 67 years old and appears frail and gaunt in photographs, putting his health and succession into question. He has also appointed Kim-Jong-un, his son, as the head of North Korea's spy agency. This would help prepare Kim-Jong-un to inherit the country.
According to Opposing Views, the U.N Security Council has continued to increase sanctions against North Korea, in response to its recent underground nuclear test and trading of banned weapons. These new sanctions have further strained hopes of achieving diplomatic relations, and now South Korea is proposing high-level talks with the U.S., Russia, China and Japan in order to discuss North Korea’s growing aggression.
Efforts to engage North Korea in disarmament talks have been so far unsuccessful. How the US will respond to North Korea's threats is currently unclear, however the threat of missile attack is a significant one, it seems.