North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspecting the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army.
North Korea, escalating its war of rhetoric with the United States, on Friday hinted it may explode an H-bomb over the Pacific, having already carried out underground tests of atomic and hydrogen bombs. He also described the president as "a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire".
North Korea says it needs nuclear weapons to deter a USA invasion, but Thornton contended that the North ultimately seeks to take over US -allied South Korea.
"We will continue our efforts in the diplomatic arena, but all our military options, as the President has said, are on the table", he said. "Once we can assess the nature of this threat, the President will make a decision regarding the appropriate actions".
Hawaiian officials were reportedly telling residents to prepare for a nuclear attack by North Korea, but they were doing so delicately so they don't cause a panic. Along with Russia, China wants the U.S.to seek dialogue with the North.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho warned of the test after comparing Trump's speech to "the sound of a barking dog".
In a rare direct statement delivered straight to camera, Kim said that Trump would "pay dearly" for the threats, and that North Korea "will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history".
"It would also send a disturbing signal to the USA and the global community that North Korea had now "arrived" as a full-fledged nuclear weapon state".
Ri told reporters that such a launch was at the discretion of the country's leader, Kim Jong-un.
The latest threats of a bomb-and-missile test coming out of Pyongyang, as NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reported earlier this month, raises the specter of not seen since the height of the Cold War. Asked for comment last week, the Foreign Ministry said China has always fully implemented United Nations sanctions on North Korea but opposes "unilateral" restrictions imposed by another country on Chinese entities.
It came in the wake of the U.S. widening the existing economic sanctions against the regime in Pyongyang on Thursday.
Trump also said China was imposing major banking sanctions, too, but there was no immediate confirmation from the North's most important trading partner.
KCNA said Chinese media was "openly resorting to interference in the internal affairs of another country" and driving a wedge between the two countries.
The 2018 Games are to be staged in Pyeongchang, just 80 km (50 miles) from the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, the world's most heavily armed border.