The country’s ruling party has warned women to flee the country if they have not already done so.
Women have been forced to flee their homes in the capital, Pyongyang, in the last few days, amid a growing crisis of public order.
Hundreds of women have been arrested and forced to sign confessions of treason, but a new threat is being posed by a group of armed North Koreans in Pyongyang who have launched an armed attack on the capital.
The attack comes amid the ongoing standoff with South Korea and the US over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme, with tensions rising after North Korea tested a long-range rocket last month.
The North Korean government has warned that it will respond to any attack on its territory and has vowed to respond with “maximum force” to any aggression against it.
In a statement issued by the KCNA news agency, KCNA said: “The supreme command of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) has made a statement, warning the people that if they do not escape the DPRK immediately, the KPA will respond with maximum force.”
In the statement, the KCNE also warned that if the North Koreans attack Seoul, the North Korean military would retaliate with “the strongest possible force”.
“If the North Korea attacks Seoul, we will defend the national interests of our people and the people’s homeland and will act in accordance with the rules of the international law,” it said.
“This is the only right way to protect the people and safeguard national sovereignty.”
The KCNA statement, which did not say when it was made, also said that if North Korean forces attacked Seoul, they would “respond with the strongest possible military force”.
The KCNE statement comes amid a rise in violence across North Korea, with the North’s military announcing on Monday that the country had deployed its most powerful rocket since the end of the Cold War.
A senior North Korean official said the test would be the first to reach a significant part of the country since it was launched in July.
North Korea has said it has the right to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, and the test of the new intercontinental missile, dubbed KN-08, was likely to have been the result of preparations for the launch.
The US State Department said on Monday it would continue to press North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme.
“The US will continue to urge the DPRK to abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile programmes,” the State Department told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“We are concerned that North Korea continues to test its capabilities in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions, and that its threats of military actions and provocations are becoming more provocative.”
Meanwhile, in another development on Monday, US President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the country continued to threaten the US and its allies.
“If North Korea acts like fools, they’ll be met with total annihilation,” Trump said in a tweet.
“And if they continue to threaten, they won’t be met!”
The US has been pushing for talks between North Korea and South Korea to be restarted after Pyongyang conducted a series of missile launches.
North Korean state media has also been calling for talks to restart in the past, with one article saying Pyongyang is prepared to accept a “peaceful resolution” to the crisis.