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North Korea says it will boost its ‘war deterrent’

From Times Wire Services

North Korea’s state media warned today that the communist nation would bolster its “war deterrent” and accused the United States of plotting a nuclear war.

The main newspaper Rodong Sinmun said that the U.S. was modernizing its nuclear arsenal under its “aggression strategies.”

The North Korean government often uses “deterrent,” “war deterrent” or “nuclear deterrent” to refer to its nuclear weapons. A threat to bolster its deterrent usually means it thinks international powers are not treating it properly.

The statement came a few days after North Korea missed a year-end deadline to declare all its nuclear programs under an international agreement.

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“Our republic will continue to harden its war deterrent further in response to the U.S. stepping up its nuclear war moves,” the paper said.

The government in Pyongyang has promised to abandon its nuclear ambitions in return for energy aid and political concessions.

It shut down its only functioning reactor in July and began disabling it and other facilities under the watch of U.S. experts in November.

In a separate report in its official media today, North Korea said it had slowed the pace of disablement because it did not think that other parties to the agreement had supplied aid in a timely manner.

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U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, envoy to the six-nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, plans to visit the other four countries -- Japan, South Korea, China and Russia -- in the next week.


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