North Korea has said that it is ready for “war” after the US deployed a naval strike group to the Korean Peninsula.
Pyongyang gave its first reaction to Washington’s move early on Tuesday and strongly denounced the naval group’s presence and vowed to defend itself “by a powerful force of arms.”
On Saturday, a US aircraft carrier-led strike group set course for the western Pacific Ocean close to the Korean peninsula amid growing fears over the North’s weapons tests.
"This goes to prove that the US reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase," the state-run KCNA news agency quoted a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying. "We will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms," he added.
The strike group, dubbed Carl Vinson, will be operating in the Western Pacific until further notice instead of partaking in a series of previously planned Australian port visits.
Last week, North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan just days after it warned the global community of retaliation over sanctions.
Last month, two high-ranking US intelligence officials claimed that North Korea is capable of killing millions of Americans by launching a nuclear attack.
In February, North Korea also simultaneously launched four ballistic missiles off its east coast, three of which landed close to Japan. In August, it also successfully tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile some 500 kilometers off the coast of Japan, in a move which the North's leader Kim Jong-un hailed as the "greatest success."