N. Korea warns South and the US of nuclear response
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The US called on Pyongyang to avoid “provocative words” after the reclusive Communist regime threatened a 'powerful nuclear deterrent' as a response to US-South Korean naval exercises poised to take place this weekend.
AFP - The United States called on North Korea Saturday to avoid "provocative words" after Pyongyang threatened a nuclear response to new US sanctions and joint US naval exercises with South Korea.
"We are not interested in a war of words with North Korea," said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley.
"What we need from North Korea is fewer provocative words and more constructive action."
North Korea said earlier Saturday it was ready for a "retaliatory sacred war" in response to ramped-up US pressure against Pyongyang, including joint US-South Korean naval exercises.
"The army and people... will legitimately counter with their powerful nuclear deterrence the largest-ever nuclear war exercises to be staged by the US and the South Korean puppet forces," North Korea's National Defense Commission said.
Seoul and Washington have said their four-day joint exercises, scheduled to begin Sunday, are a bid to deter North Korea's "aggressive" behavior.
"This is irresponsible and precisely why we are committed to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," Crowley told AFP.
The North routinely threatens military action in response to joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea, saying they are a rehearsal for war.
But tensions in the region have been particularly high for the past two months, after Washington and Seoul accused the North of torpedoing a South Korean warship, killing 46 people.
The North denies involvement and says the "smear campaign" is a pretext for aggression.
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