SEOUL-- North Korea will launch a nuclear strike at the heart of the United States if Americans attempt a regime change in Pyongyang, the North's state news agency said Tuesday in denunciation of recent remarks by the Central Intelligence Agency director.

In a forum last week, Mike Pompeo, the chief of the U.S. intelligence agency, alluded to the possibility of a regime change in North Korea by saying that the most important thing the U.S. can do is "separate (nuclear) capacity and someone who might well have (nuclear) intent and break those two apart."

"Should the U.S. dare to show even the slightest sign of attempt to remove our supreme leadership, we will strike a merciless blow at the heart of the U.S. with our powerful nuclear hammer, honed and hardened over time," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, quoting a spokesman of the North Korean foreign ministry.

The report said Pompeo's remarks "have gone over the line, and it has now become clear that the ultimate aim of the Trump administration ... is the regime change."

Those remarks display Pompeo's "illiteracy about the DPRK and an explicit illustration of incompetence of the U.S. intelligence community," the report also said, calling the country by the acronym of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"If the supreme dignity of the DPRK is threatened, (North Korea) must preemptively annihilate those countries and entities that are directly or indirectly involved in it by mobilizing all kinds of strike means including the nuclear ones," according to the KCNA.

"The likes of Pompeo will bitterly experience the catastrophic and miserable consequences caused by having dared to shake their little fists at the supreme leadership," it said, referring to the country's leader Kim Jong-un.

Source: Yonhap News Agency