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'Peace-loving' North Korea: 'We do not fear war'

By Elizabeth Shim
'Peace-loving' North Korea: 'We do not fear war'
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (R) arrives for an opening ceremony of a new residential housing project on Ryo Myong street in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 13. North Korea warned the United States against deploying its strike carrier groups close to the peninsula. File Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA

April 21 (UPI) -- North Korea's Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said Friday Pyongyang would use "any means necessary" to "protect the peace" on the Korean peninsula.

The committee, which once served as a liaison in inter-Korea affairs, said North Korea is a "peace-loving socialist country," state-controlled news agency KCNA reported.

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"Our republic, as a peace-loving socialist country, cherishes peace more than anyone else," the statement read. "But ultimately we do not fear war."

Pyongyang also said the United States is escalating military threats by deploying its strategic assets to the peninsula, including the aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson, the USS Ronald Reagan and Nimitz strike groups.

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There is speculation the latter two carrier groups could join the Vinson.

The North Korean committee spokesman also said Pyongyang has "all options available," ranging from "weapons of mass destruction, such as the hydrogen bomb," to "intercontinental ballistic missiles."

"We are willing to respond to any provocation from the United States," the statement read.

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North Korea also accused the United States of bullying other countries.

"We are not surprised the United States boasts of its strength, while picking on weak nations without nuclear weapons...we will respond to all-out war with all-out war," the committee stated. "Those who threaten the central leadership, our life and dignity, must be ready for South Korea to be turned into ashes, the sinking of the Japanese archipelago and for a nuclear hail to rain down on the mainland of the United States."

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The spokesman also claimed U.S. President Donald Trump was following former President Richard Nixon's strategy of "taking on the persona of a lunatic" in order to have the upper hand in negotiations.

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The statement did not provide a specific example of how Nixon used such tactics during his presidency.

Statements from North Korea are being viewed with skepticism in the Trump administration.

On Friday in Tel Aviv, Israel, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said, "As far as North Korea's latest words [are concerned], I think we've all come to hear their words repeatedly, their word has not proven honest."

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