A top North Korean official called Vice President Mike Pence a "political dummy" and threatened to call off the upcoming summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The big picture: Tensions between North Korea and the United States have risen following Korean officials announcing the country refuses to meet the United States’ demand of denuclearization. In an interview with Fox News earlier this week, Pence reiterated the administration’s stance on denuclearization for North Korea. 

The details: The statement, issued through official state media on behalf of Choe Son Hui, vice minister of foreign affairs for North Korea, follows the nation's recent change in tone with the United States and South Korea. The country cancelled talks with South Korea last week over joint U.S. and South Korean military drills and has refused to denuclearize before.

President Trump and the administration have remained adamant that denuclearization must be part of any deal with North Korea in some capacity despite the country's refusal to do so. The U.S. has maintained that they will keep military pressure on North Korea until denuclearization is achieved.

What happens next: With the highly anticipated meeting approaching in just a few weeks, the administration will have to decide whether it will back off its denuclearization demand or take a more aggressive approach with North Korea.

Go deeper: North Korea is giving the United States two options: Back off denuclearization or go with "the Libya model."

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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Vice presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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