North Korea 'ready for war' after US sends navy strike group to peninsula

Statement from Pyongyang comes amid worsening tensions

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The Independent Online

North Korean authorities are “ready for war” following the US’s “reckless moves for invading” and sending battle ships within their coastal waters.

“We will hold the US wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions,” a spokesman for its Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The US sent the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its group of battle warships to waters off the coast of the Peninsula in a display of defiance against the Republic and to conduct exercises with the South Korean Navy.

“This goes to prove that the US’s reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase of its scenario,” the spokesman continued. 

“If the US dares opt for a military action, crying out for ‘preemptive attack’ and ‘removal of the headquarters’, the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US.”

The Northern Republic is vowing tough retaliatory moves amid escalating conflicts with the US, shortly after North Korea tested out ballistic missiles and justified the test as self-defence while engaging in war games with its southern neighbour.

President Donald Trump said the US was prepared to act alone to deal with the threat from North Korea to test more ballistic missiles and develop one that could reach the US. Such tests are banned under United Nations resolutions.

Donald Trump could lead US into new war with North Korea, warns former MI6 chief

The official response followed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statement on US missile strikes against a Syrian airbase in retaliation for a chemical weapon attack carried out by Bashar al-Assad. 

He did not specify North Korea, but his message was clear.

”If you violate international agreements, if you fail to live up to commitments, if you become a threat to others, at some point a response is likely to be undertaken,“ Mr Tillerson told ABC. 

US naval ships in the area are not uncommon. On Saturday night the Pentagon ordered a Navy carrier strike group to move towards the western Pacific Ocean to be more of a physical presence in the region, a move that Mr Trump’s national security adviser H R McMaster called “prudent”.

Officials from South Korea and China, North Korea’s closest ally, threatened to impose “strong additional measures” if North Korea carries out more nuclear tests. China has already executed sanctions, including banning all North Korean coal imports for the last two months.

As reported by South Korean news agency Yonhap, the US, South Korea and Japan are meeting this month to plan a joint response to North Korea.

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