North Korea will “shower fire” on the US in response to the threats by its President Donald Trump, the regime’s Foreign Minister has said.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho made his remarks in an interview to the Russian news agency TASS on Wednesday. His statement follows weeks of escalating tensions between North Korea and the US, fuelled by Pyongyang’s repeated nuclear tests and Trump’s tough talk.

“It is the steadfast will of all the service personnel and people of the DPRK (North Korea) to shower fire on the US,” Ri said.

The North Korean Foreign Minister attended the regular session of the UN General Assembly in September, during which Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea over its weapons programme, including the September 3 nuclear test.

Citing Trump’s UN speech, Ri said: “By his bellicose and insane statement in the UN arena, Trump — it can be said — lit the wick of the war against us.”

“We need to settle the final score, only with a hail of fire, not words.”

Ri, who had called Trump “mentally deranged” after the UN speech, told TASS that North Korea was “winning” and represented “a worthy counterweight to the US”.

Echoing previous warnings by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Ri said that “the US should act sensibly and stop touching us if they do not want to disgrace themselves in the face of the whole world”, and added that his nation’s forces “will not leave America, the aggressor state, unpunished”.

Asked by a TASS reporter if dialogue between North Korea and the US is possible, Ri said it was not.

“The current situation… is not at all an atmosphere to negotiate,” Ri said, according to TASS.

Ri also said that North Korea’s nuclear programme was the “precious fruition of the Korean people’s bloody struggle for defending the destiny and sovereignty of the country from the protracted nuclear threat of the US imperialists and a treasured sword of justice”.

The delegation of Russian journalists was visiting Pyongyang shortly after a group of Russian MPs travelled to North Korea.

The North Korean authorities were reported to have told one of the delegates that they were preparing the next test launch with a new intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the west coast of the US.

According to experts, Pyongyang could launch its new missile either on October 18, coinciding with the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, or between November 2 and 14, during which Trump is set to visit the region.