London: North Korea`s supreme leader Kim Jong-un has threatened `all-out war` against the South in a dramatic escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula.
The warning from North Korea comes as a blistering reaction to United Nations sanctions punishing Pyongyang for its third nuclear test last month prompted a rare call from China, the North`s only ally, for calm.
According to the Independent, Hua Chunying, of China`s foreign ministry, said `China calls on the relevant parties to be calm and exercise restraint and avoid taking any further action that would cause any further escalations`.
While dramatic threats are not unusual from North Korea, the new threat come a day after it threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike against its enemies.
The seriousness of the standoff was clear as Kim Jong-un, touring bases on the Yellow Sea, ordered his military to be ready to strike `at a moment`s notice`, according to Pyongyang Korean Central News Agency (KNCA).
According to the report, analysts suggest that North Korean leaders are hoping that grandiose threats will force the US and South Korea to back off from military exercises and bring about negotiations that would result in still more concessions.
In that spirit, General Kang Pyo-yong, deputy Defence Minister and probably the North`s most influential commander, declared the North`s `intercontinental ballistic missiles and other missiles are on standby` with miniaturized warheads able to turn Washington `into a sea of fire`.
In announcing the end of the `hotline` in the truce village of Panmunjom, where the Korean War armistice was signed, the KNCA said there was `nothing to talk to the puppet group of traitors about`, the report said.
North Korea last used the hotline 10 days ago when it relayed a message to the top US commander in the area threatening war if the US went ahead with annual military exercises that began this week.
A South Korean defence ministry spokesman declared "Kim Jong-un`s regime will perish from the earth" if the North made good on the threat.
According to the report, the White House spokesman Jay Carney said "the United States is fully capable of defending against any North Korean ballistic missile attack."