North Korea denounces U.S. carrier’s arrival in South

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s state media on Friday denounced a U.S. aircraft carrier’s arrival in South Korea, calling it a military provocation that could bring “irrevocable, catastrophic circumstances.”

Nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group arrived in the South Korean port of Busan on Thursday for a five-day visit for allied drills, in a show of force against North Korea.

North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said the air carrier’s visit showed that a U.S. scheme for a nuclear attack on its country had reached “the most serious phase,” which means that “the outbreak of a nuclear war comes to the fore.”

“It is an undisguised military provocation driving the situation to the irrevocable catastrophic circumstances,” KCNA said in a commentary.

U.S. and South Korean forces have been staging an intensified series of military exercises this year, involving U.S. aircraft carriers, submarines and cutting-edge bombers, to better respond to evolving North Korean nuclear and missile threats. North Korea calls the drills a rehearsal for invasion.

In case of an imminent nuclear attack, Pyongyang would take “necessary action” as enshrined in its nuclear doctrine, pledging to “thoroughly deter and repel U.S. and its stooges’ frantic moves to ignite a nuclear war,” it said.

Our “most powerful and rapid first strike will be given to the ‘extended deterrence’ means, used by the U.S. to hallucinate its followers, and the bases of evil in the Korean peninsula and its vicinity,” KCNA said.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Stephen Coates)