SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headed for South Korea on Thursday on the third leg of her four-nation tour of Asia.
The visit comes at a time of escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula and after U.S. officials cited evidence that North Korea was gearing up for a launch of a long-range missile.
North Korean officials have disputed the claim, saying in the country's official news agency that Pyongyang was preparing to launch a satellite.
But Pyongyang said Thursday that it was ready for an "all-out confrontation" with South Korea, calling President Lee Myung-bak a traitor and accusing him of "frantically inciting hostility" toward North Korea and "kicking up ... war hysteria," North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said.
Seoul called the North's statement a repeat of past bluster.
"It's seen as an attempt by North Korea to increase uneasiness about security and widen the ideological divide within South Korea," said Kim Ho-Nyun, a spokesman for the South Korean Unification Ministry.
Speaking at a news conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone this week, Clinton warned that a possible North Korean missile launch would be "very unhelpful in moving our relationship forward."
She said the United States is "watching very closely" actions by North Korea.
I think Hillary is doing a fantastic job. Even better than I expected, actually!
The little North Korean leader is ugly, has platform shoes, bad clothes, and bad hair. But he likes Western women.
Maybe we should send Palin to give him a makeover and wardrobe tips. It'll make him happy, and she should be happy as well: you can see Russia from North Korea.
Quit bringing facts onto this comment page! You're confusing the radical liberal posters who don't know history...and who blindly follow their Messiah, waiting at their mailbox for their little piece of stimulus.
Bubba must be happy that is old woman is traveling around the world. Look out Chappaqua – Bubba will be fishing a lot!
BTW Hiliary, not sure your aides have told you but the dictator of N.Korea likes his porn and scotch. I'm sure you can get that from Bubba to bring along to the DMZ.
Not only racists but also misogynists. Why not keep your mouths – or fingers – which are clearly not connected to anything resembling brains capable of rational thought – quiet and see if a new approach can help undo the damage that Bush and his administration caused, before condemning new tacks in foreign policy just because they come from (oh GOD oh DEAR) a woman (face it, science has proven women are smarter) or a guy who is almost half black (as are all of you who are condemning him because of his skin color).
Are we going to have 8 years on the diplomatic front of trembling lips and empty threats from this goofball like we did her lying, criminal husband?
North Korea is "Chicken in the Pot". This is why they do these things.
A very frightened and insecure crowd.
Rick to answer your talking point the world is with us except the GOPS are not. Can you tell me how the world was with, W the messiah of your party?
Well, I see Hillary is still on her Asian tour. So the VP goes to the more important meetings in Europe. Wow, way to minimalize her Rahm. Still cracking your knuckles in Obama's ear?
Oh, and for those of you who blame the North Korean nukes on Bush, please remember that Clinton gave them the technology and then didn't bother to check in on what they were doing with it, revisionist history helps no one in this situation, let's be adult about it, ok? Also, where is Hillary with Kyrgyzstan? These factions are pushing because they know that for the time being Obama will negotiate the Democratic way, nice talk and nothing but concessions, I am confident that in a year or two Obama will start dealing with these folks in a more stern way, not as standoffish as Bush, but the nice guy cloves will be coming off. For the ignorant that thinks the world wants to be our friends, I give you reality.
Hey Scott Tucson, you must be the result of your dad having sex with his sister!
I'm sick and tired of your type, backward thinking racist. Not only is President Obama a true man, not like that wimp bush, but Madame Sec. of State Hillary Clinton is more than qualafied to do what she set out to do and then more.
It's your type thats going to give the democrats eight or sixteen years in the white house, but that's what you get!
She'll eventually create a create a problem just so she can rush in (under sniper fire) and save the day.
Had Dubya not called North Korea part of the axis of evil and had actually engaged it in diplomacy, we might not be facing this. Yet another legacy from that administration that Obama needs to fix. I cannot figure out why people liked George Bush as he was the epitome of evil and ignorance and stupidity and we are in a world of hurt at his hands.
I wish people will stop making racial and stupid remarks...grow up, before calling her an old women think of your mon and your loves that are also old and we are all going to get old as well, show some respect. She is a smart women and she will do a great job!
To Bubba's happy comment, I prefer 8 yrs of Bubba than 8 years of Bush!
Considering that North Korea is considered one of the top security threats to the whole world, I don't think Hillary is being minimized. Her trip to Asia is crucial, as there are issues such as North Korea, trade difficulties, and the world-wide depression to work on.
You know, interestingly enough, many of our top military brains think that the biggest threat to world stability is North Korea and not the Middle East. North Korea has a borderline senile psychopath in charge, with a known stash of atomic weapons. Somehow, that moves him up the worry list in my book!
Ah, Kurt C. I see you couldn't resist another dig.
Actually, North Korea got their first atomic capability in the late 50s from Russia/China. That would put it during the term of office of President Eisenhower, who was particularly put out by it as it came so soon after the end of the Conflict in Korea. Hmm. And that would be when Richard Nixon was Vice President.
Hillary, you do what you want! You're Madame Secretary! Dont listen to the other bullies! By the way, NK seriously needs a brain transplant. This is what happens when you kill God. So America, dont ever shut God out.
...And the pointless, meaningless, multi-million dollar JUNKETTE continues (at taxpayer expense of course) in order to let Hillary believe that she is actually important and not just a symbolic appointment meant to appease Bill.
(Hillary, you are not worthy of carrying Condi Rice's suitcase! The Bidens will have you ousted by next Summer.)
Klinger would have done a better job.
Go Hilliary!!!!! I'm so proud of you. U're The Best!!!!!! I like u're style. U're a great asset to The Presidet and to this country. You'll go down in history as one of the greatest Secretary of the State. I feel it in my heart. Keep up the good work!!!!!
She looks good!