White House On Nuclear War With North Korea: Don't Get All Bent Out Of Shape Over It
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration responded sternly Monday to an annihilation threat from North Korea, saying while it had no intention of attacking, it was determined to protect the United States if North Korea launched a long-range missile.
North Korea vowed on Monday to respond with an "annihilating" nuclear strike if its atomic facilities were attacked pre-emptively by the United States.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House dismissed North Korea's threat of a nuclear strike in the event of a US attack as "deeply hypothetical" and urged Pyongyang to rejoin nuclear negotiations.
North Korea vowed Monday to counter any strike by the United States with its "mighty nuclear deterrent," accusing Washington of raising tension on the Korean peninsula.
"It is a statement about what may happen if something that hasn't happened, happened, if you follow my drift. It is still deeply hypothetical," said White House spokesman Tony Snow.
Reporter: Hypothetical? They’ve got nuclear weapons, they’ve threatened a nuclear retaliatory strike on the US, what’s hypothetical about that?
Snow: It's hypothetical because it hasn’t happened yet, right? We don’t make statements about what might happen, what might not happen, this, that, who knows. We’ll comment after it happens.
Reporter: After what happens?
Snow: After nothing happens! All we're saying is, something could happen, something happens every day, right? And if this happens, you’ll be the first to know, believe me. But until it happens, it’s all hypothetical—
Reporter: Until what happens?
Snow: Nothing! And it may not happen at all! How do you fasten this--
Reporter: What’s that shiny jumpsuit thing you’re putting on?
Snow: What, this? It’s nothing, it’s just a, a White House jumpsuit, we keep them around the White House in case something happens. It’s nothing, don’t worry about it. Jeez this thing’s heavy, I can hardly move--
Reporter: Hey, is that suit made out of lead?
Snow: Lead, tin foil, whatever, how would I know, I'm not running a haberdashery here… (to Secret Service man) Where's the helmet, I’m supposed to get a helmet with this-- (to reporters) It’s just a precaution in case…
Reporter: In case something happens?
Snow: In case something that’s very highly unlikely to happen, happens. (struggling) Damn…zipper is…stuck—
Reporter: Well, what is it that’s unlikely to happen?
Snow: Look, this isn’t that hard to understand, why can’t you guys follow this? It’s just hypothetical, we don't comment on hypothetical stuff, it’s all hypothetical—(looking at watch, wiping his forehead) Where the hell is my helmet, the thing with the snorkel, the breathing thing?
Reporter: Are U.S. aircraft currently doing flyovers over North Korea?
Snow: What? Now what the hell kind of question is that? We got planes, they fly, that’s what planes do, they fly over stuff. That’s not "news," that doesn’t mean anything--
Reporter: So are you saying nothing’s going to happen?
Snow: No!I never said that--stuff happens every day! Stuff happens, man! You can quote me: “Sometimes-stuff—happens.” They got nukes, and something could happen. MIGHT happen. Maybe. What, you want everybody to run around like a chicken with its head cut off, cause something might happen?
Reporter: But they said—
Snow: (mimicking) “They said this, they said that, wah, wah, wah!” Look—what do you want from me, a written guarantee? There’s no guarantees in this life, people. We could all get killed by a bus tomorrow crossing the street, how about that, you gonna print that in the paper? You gonna stay up all night worrying about it? You gonna waste the last remaining moments of--Just toughen up, for Christ’s sakes. (taking helmet from Secret Service man, puts it on) Oh, thank God, here, help me get this on—
Reporter: So then what you’re saying is--
Snow: (from inside helmet, shouting) Can you guys still hear me?
Reporter: Yeah, we can hear you. Hey,where are you going?
Snow: (muffled shouting from inside helmet) Jeez, it’s a hundred and fifty degrees inside this thing…my little window’s getting all fogged up…Look guys, I think I made my point, I gotta go downstairs now, in case something happens. And if I don’t see you guys tomorrow, happy Fourth of July, okay?