N. Korea vows ‘overwhelming’ response over U.S. deployment of strategic assets

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SEOUL, North Korea on Tuesday lambasted the recent deployment of strategic assets by the United States to the Korean Peninsula and vowed to counter it with an "overwhelming and decisive response strategy."

The nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier arrived at the southeastern port city of Busan on Thursday for a five-day visit following trilateral naval drills involving the U.S., South Korea and Japan. A U.S. nuclear-capable B-52 bomber also plans to land at a South Korean air base this week.

"The U.S. nuclear racket going far beyond the danger line has been intensively revealed in the Korean Peninsula," Kim Tong-myong, a researcher at the North's Society for International Politics Study, said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency.

Noting that the U.S. has staged combined drills and deployed strategic assets to "the biggest hotspot in the world," Kim said such "dangerous nuclear provocations" are bringing the world closer to a "thermonuclear zone."

In a separate statement, a researcher at the North's foreign ministry accused the U.S. of using a recent congressional report highlighting the risks of the North's nuclear arsenal as a means to make a preemptive nuclear strike against North Korea easier.

In its final report issued last week, the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the U.S. said the North is "on pace" to deploy sufficient nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles to overcome the U.S. missile defense and may be preparing for a nuclear test to enable tactical nuclear operations.

"It is working hard to highlight the defensive nature, but the world recognizes that the U.S. mainland missile defense system is, in essence, a means for carrying out a nuclear war of aggression," said Kim Kwang-myong, the researcher at the North's Institute for Disarmament and Peace.

Claiming that the U.S. has "deliberately escalated the situation by frequently dispatching nuclear strategic assets" to Northeast Asia, Kim said the North will counter attempts by "hostile forces" for a "nuclear war" with an "overwhelming and decisive response strategy."

"The reality urgently requires the DPRK, which is standing in confrontation with the U.S. imperialism, the most aggressive nuclear war criminal force, to bolster up its self-defensive military capabilities for deterring a nuclear war both in quality and quantity and in a rapid way."

The statements come as the North has been seeking to bolster its nuclear arsenal. In September, the North amended the constitution to enshrine a nuclear force-building policy, a year after it enacted a new nuclear law authorizing the preemptive use of nuclear arms, calling its status as a nuclear state "irreversible."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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