Tension between the United States and North Korea remained high Sunday as Pyongyang released propaganda videos showing U.S. planes and an aircraft carrier under attack.

The violent videos came after President Trump derided North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, by calling him “little rocketman” and vowing at the United Nations to “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatens the United States or its allies.

U.S. officials were more restrained in their words Sunday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin repeated the insistence that all options, including military force, remain on the table. But he lingered more on discussing how he has greater authority to punish countries, companies and individuals who trade with North Korea under an executive order signed by Trump last week. And he downplayed the likelihood of nuclear war.

“The president doesn’t want to be in a nuclear war,” he said on the ABC show “This Week.” “And we will do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t occur.”

And Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who has pushed stronger sanctions against North Korea and those who trade with it, said there is still room for diplomacy and tougher sanctions that aim to bring North Korea to the negotiating table.

“We have a long ways to go to continue to ratchet up the economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea and the enablers of North Korea,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“Our No. 1 goal with North Korea … must and always will be peaceful denuclearization of the North Korean regime,” he said. “But we have a lot of work to do on the diplomatic and economic side before we think of any other option.”

In Pyongyang, however, the rhetoric and the images evoked the possibility of war on the horizon.

Photoshopped pictures from a state-owned propaganda website, DPRK Today, purported to show a North Korean missile making a direct hit on B-1B Lancer bombers and an F-35 fighter jet. In the doctored shots, the planes were engulfed in flames.

Another falsified video on the website showed a missile launched from a North Korean submarine strike the USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered supercarrier. Like the planes, the ship explodes in a firestorm.

The fake news targets were apparently chosen because B-1B bombers escorted by Air Force fighter jets flew in international airspace off the coast of North Korea on Saturday in a clear demonstration of force. And the Carl Vinson led one of two carrier strike groups that conducted joint exercises with South Korea and Japan earlier this year.

As the war of words escalates, North Koreans are being bombarded with militaristic and tit-for-tat messages. Kim himself went on TV to declare Trump is “mentally deranged” and a “dotard” and vowed to make him “pay dearly” for his insults. Kim said he was considering ordering the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.” On Saturday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Trump’s remarks made it an inevitability that his country’s rockets would hit the U.S. mainland.

And in a government-orchestrated display of North Korean anger, what appeared to be tens of thousands of people attended a huge rally Saturday in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square, a large public plaza named after Kim’s grandfather and founder of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Demonstrators chanted “total destruction,” and “decisive revenge,” according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency, which pegged the crowd size at 100,000.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.