PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — The Latest on tensions on the Korean Peninsula (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

North Korea's vice foreign minister says President Donald Trump's policy toward the country is more "vicious and aggressive" than President Barack Obama's.

Vice Minister Han Song Ryol told The Associated Press that Trump's tweets were making trouble in the region.

Trump tweeted Tuesday that the North was "looking for trouble" and if China didn't do its part to rein in Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, the U.S. could handle it alone.

Han said: "We are comparing Trump's policy toward the DPRK with the former administrations and we have concluded that it's becoming more vicious and more aggressive." The country's official name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

But Han said it was prepared for provocative acts. "Whatever comes from U.S. politicians, if their words are designed to overthrow the DPRK system and government, we will categorically reject them."

___

12:20 p.m.

North Korea's vice foreign minister says, "We will go to war" if the U.S. chooses to provoke it.

Vice Minister Han Song Ryol spoke to The Associated Press in an exclusive interview in Pyongyang on Friday. He said the United States and President Donald Trump were making trouble in the region, citing Trump's tweets and the U.S. for moving an aircraft carrier into the region and for participating in its largest-ever joint military exercises with South Korea.

Han said that in the face of such actions, North Korea "will go to war if they choose." And it will continue developing its nuclear program and conduct its next nuclear test whenever its leaders see fit.

Han said: "We certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a U.S. pre-emptive strike."

___

12:15 p.m.

North Korea's vice foreign minister says it is not his own country but the United States and President Donald Trump who are "making trouble."

Vice Minister Han Song Ryol made the comments in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in Pyongyang on Friday.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday that North Korea was "looking for trouble" and added that if China doesn't do its part to rein in Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, the U.S. can handle it.

Han cited Trump's tweets as problematic, as well as the U.S. military's participation in exercises with South Korea and an aircraft carrier's move to the region.

"Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words. .... It's not the DPRK but the US and Trump that makes trouble."

___

11:45 a.m.

North Korea's vice foreign minister says it will conduct its next nuclear test whenever its supreme headquarters sees fit.

Vice Minister Han Song Ryol made the comments in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in Pyongyang on Friday. He also said the situation on the Korean Peninsula was in a "vicious cycle" as tensions with the U.S. and its allies deepen.

Outside experts say the North could conduct its sixth nuclear test at virtually anytime. Meanwhile, the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to the region and is conducting its biggest ever joint military exercises with South Korea.

Han told AP that Pyongyang won't "keep its arms crossed" in the face of a U.S. pre-emptive strike.

Many experts believe North Korea could have a viable nuclear warhead and a ballistic missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland within the next few years.

___

11:30 a.m.

North Korea's vice foreign minister says the situation on the Korean Peninsula is now in a "vicious cycle."

Vice Minister Han Song Ryol made the comments in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in Pyongyang on Friday.

Tensions are deepening as the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to waters off the peninsula and is conducting its biggest-ever joint military exercises with South Korea. Pyongyang, meanwhile, recently launched a ballistic missile and some experts say it could conduct another nuclear test at virtually anytime.

President Donald Trump upped the ante in a war of words with Pyongyang in a tweet on Tuesday that said the North is "looking for trouble."