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N Korea threatens 'nuke deterrence' against US-SKorea drill


An unrelated photo of S Korean military helicopters

BEIJING (KYODO): North Korea Saturday said it will use "nuclear deterrence" against US-South Korea joint military exercises in the Sea of Japan starting Sunday, the country's state media has reported.

A spokesman for North Korea's National Defence Commission issued a statement Saturday saying Pyongyang will counter any threat to the country.

"The US and South Korean puppet forces are threatening this land with a nuclear war under the pretext of" responding to the sinking of a South Korean warship in March and the North will "legitimately counter (the exercises) with powerful nuclear deterrence," the Korean Central News Agency said.

In Washington, the United States called on North Korea to take "more constructive action."

"What we need from North Korea is fewer provocative words and more constructive action," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told Kyodo News. "We are not interested in a war of words with North Korea," he added.

The North Korean statement further said, "The army and people of the DPRK will start a retaliatory sacred war of their own style based on nuclear deterrence any time necessary in order to counter the US imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces deliberately pushing the situation to the brink of a war."

DPRK is an acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the country's formal name.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and his South Korean counterpart Kim Tae Young on Tuesday jointly announced a series of military exercises on land and at sea in response to the sinking of the Cheonan, saying the drills are designed to send a clear message calling on North Korea to stop its provocative and warlike acts.

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