WASHINGTON - The White House warned North Korea Monday that bellicose behavior did nothing to ease its isolation or feed its people, after Pyongyang's military threatened to turn parts of Seoul to "ashes."
White House spokesman Jay Carney would not react specifically to the North Korean threat of "special actions" in the coming days, but he said he could not rule out more provocative behavior from the Stalinist state.
"Provocative behavior by the North Korean regime does nothing to feed its people. In fact, it does the opposite," Carney said.
"It does nothing to grow that economy. In fact, it does the opposite. It does nothing to reduce the isolation of that regime from the rest of the world. In fact, it does the opposite."
The North has for months been criticizing the South's President Lee Myung-Bak in extreme terms and threatening "sacred war" over perceived insults.
There have been no incidents but the language has become increasingly vitriolic. Some analysts said they believe a military provocation is likely.
North Korea has also warned of retaliation after the United States scrapped a deal for food aid over the rocket launch earlier this month by Pyongyang, which failed in an embarrassment for the regime of new leader Kim Jong-Un.
Some experts believe that the North, as Kim seeks to establish his power, may soon conduct another underground nuclear test.
The North staged atomic weapons tests months after its long-range rocket launches in 2006 and 2009, which also earned UN condemnation.
Obama visited the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas last month and denounced the isolated and impoverished state as a nation which cannot make "anything of any use" and "doesn't work."