Kim Jong-un
More sabre-rattling from Kim Jong-un.Ed Jones/AFP/GettyImages

Pyongyang has racheted up its level of threats by presenting a disturbing scenario of obliterating Manhattan with a powerful nuclear weapon. The sabre-rattling nation boasted of its ability to destroy the heart of New York in the state-run media outlet DPRK (the Democratic People's Repbublic of Korea) Today.

"Our hydrogen bomb is much bigger than the one developed by the Soviet Union," read a report quoting a North Korean nuclear scientist. "If this H-bomb were to be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile and falls on Manhattan in New York City, all the people there would be killed immediately and the city would burn down to ashes."

North Korea's newly developed hydrogen bomb "surpasses our imagination," the scientist, identified as Cho Hyong Il, is quoted as saying, reports the Washington Post. The country has claimed it now has a nuclear warhead small enough to be launched on a ballistic missile, but international experts are skeptical.

The troubling Manhattan image is one of a series of threats issued by North Korea in the wake of its initial claim of a successful hydrogen bomb test in January — and the international fallout. Most experts were skeptical of that claim as well because of the lack of power of the seismic waves caused by the blast.

In response to the toughest United Nations sanctions yet against the country, North Korea fired ballistic missiles into the sea in early March and then again a week later. "We sternly reject the UN sanctions as we view them to be the most reckless provocation," the government said.

It then threatened the US and South Korea, saying, "If we push the buttons to annihilate the enemies even right now, all bases of provocations will be reduced to seas in flames and ashes in a moment." There was no immediate response from the White House or New York concerning the Manhattan threat.