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North Korea warns U.S. against 'military provocations'

By Elizabeth Shim
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North Korea warns U.S. against 'military provocations'
This image released on Monday by the North Korean Official News Service (KCNA), shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meeting with South Korean officials in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo

March 7 (UPI) -- North Korea warned the United States against "military provocations" on Wednesday and defended the "legitimacy" of its nuclear weapons program in state media following inter-Korea talks in Pyongyang.

In a message that appeared to contradict the candid manner of Kim Jong Un regarding potential talks with the United States witnessed by the South Korean delegation, North Korea's KCNA said the "United States will pay for military provocations," despite the most recent postponement of joint drills during the Winter Olympics.

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"The United States is openly preparing for a war of invasion, to reverse the situation on the Korean Peninsula," the KCNA statement read, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

KCNA also referred to a statement from U.S. Forces Korea issued in February regarding a plan to place a Gray Eagle drone unit into full operation by April 2019.

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"By restarting aggressive military movements like the joint drills with South Korea, the United States is engaging in a severe act of provocation that intentionally worsens the situation on the Korean Peninsula," KCNA stated, contradicting reports from South Korean delegates suggesting Kim does not oppose the restarting of joint military drills.

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Pyongyang's news agency blamed the United States as the "main obstacle" to unification with the South.

"The tragedy is the United States still does not know North Korea very well," KCNA stated.

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Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun stated Wednesday the possession of nuclear weapons is "legitimate" because it "protects the sovereignty and the right to survival of the nation."

The newspaper also claimed the United States has been "carrying out nuclear threats" against Pyongyang for "decades" and stated the United States was considering nuclear options against the North in 1969 as part of operation "Freedom Drop."

"We could not just sit there with our arms folded to watch," the Rodong said.

RELATED Seoul: U.S.-North Korea talks may precede inter-Korean dialogue in April

North and South Korea signed an agreement this week in Pyongyang, but the deal, including details on a phone line, the April summit and other developments were not reported in state media by Wednesday, News 1 reported.

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