The White House said North Korea has not technically threatened to use nuclear weapons because the reclusive nation has yet to obtain them.
"There's no evidence that North Korea has that capability at this time," press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday.
When pressed further, Spicer doubled down on the U.S. government's assertion North Korea, under the direction of leader Kim Jong un, does not yet have a working nuclear weapon.
"Threatening something that you don't have the capability of isn't really a threat," Spicer said.
Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have increased in recent days. President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping last weekend, and Tuesday he mentioned China on Twitter while saying North Korea needs to be properly dealt with.
The U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier strike group toward North Korea in a show of force against North Korea's recent missile tests. Officials believe North Korea will conduct another missile test April 15 or sooner.
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