North Korea threatens nuclear response to naval exercises

July 24, 2010 02:10

HANOI — North Korea  said Saturday it would counter US and South Korean joint naval exercises with "nuclear deterrence" after the Obama administration said the government in Pyongyang shouldn't take any provocative steps.

North Korea 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," the National Defense Commission said, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

The maneuvers, which involve 20 vessels and 200 aircraft from the US and South Korea, pose a threat to the country's sovereignty and security, Ri Tong Il, an official with North Korea's delegation to the ASEAN Security Forum, told reporters in Hanoi on Friday.

Ri's comments came after North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun sat in the same room with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a security meeting of Asia's largest powers. Clinton condemned North Korea for being "on a campaign of provocative, dangerous behavior," urging Kim Jong Il's regime to change.

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