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(photo credit: AP)
North Korea would respond to a pre-emptive US military attack with an "annihilating strike and a nuclear war," the state-run media said Monday, heightening its antagonistic rhetoric.
The Korean Central News Agency, citing an unidentified Rodong Sinmun newspaper "analyst," accused the United States of increasing military pressure on the isolated communist state.
The North Korean threat of retaliation, which is often voiced by its state-controlled media, comes amid US official reports that Pyongyang has shown signs of preparing for a test of a long-range missile.
"The army and people of the DPRK are now in full preparedness to answer a pre-emptive attack with a relentless annihilating strike and a nuclear war with a mighty nuclear deterrent," the report said.
DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The report accused Washington of escalating military pressure on the country with war exercises, a massive arms buildup and aerial espionage by basing new spy planes in South Korea.
North Korea routinely accuses the US of aerial espionage, issuing a tally of such flights at the end of every month. The US military doesn't comment, although it acknowledges monitoring North Korean military activity.