N. Korea threatens to strike U.S. aircraft carrier

North Korea threatened Friday to stage the "most powerful and rapid first strike" against U.S. strategic assets deployed to the Korean Peninsula, in the latest bellicose rhetoric that underscored Pyongyang's concerns about U.S. military capabilities in the region.

The nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier docked at the southeastern port of Busan on Thursday for a five-day visit -- the first since September 2022 -- in a show of force against North Korea. The visit came soon after trilateral naval drills involving the United States, South Korea and Japan.

The carrier strike group's visit is part of the U.S. commitment to further strengthening the "regular visibility" of strategic assets on the peninsula, as outlined in the Washington Declaration issued in April following the summit of the leaders of South Korea and the U.S.

North Korea denounced Washington's deployment of nuclear strategic assets as an "undisguised" military provocation, warning that the strategic assets have entered the extremely dangerous waters.

North Korea's "most powerful and rapid first strike will be given to the 'extended deterrence' means, used by the U.S. to hallucinate its followers, and the bases of evil in the Korean peninsula and its vicinity," according to a commentary carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea said the country's nuclear doctrine adopted last year allows it to take necessary actions, such as the preemptive use of nuclear arms, in case it judges a nuclear attack against it is imminent.

Last month, North Korea amended the constitution to enshrine the policy of strengthening its nuclear force, as it seeks to increase its nuclear arsenal "exponentially."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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