North Korea lambasted the United States Sunday over its plan to send American troops stationed in Japan to the Korean Peninsula in the event of a contingency, claiming it shows Washington's ambition to invade the communist country.
Earlier this month, the U.S. officially confirmed that its troops stationed in Japan will automatically intervene in the event of a contingency on the Korean Peninsula without holding prior consultation with the Japanese government.
"The U.S. intention is to crush North Korea with military power and stage a second war on the Korean Peninsula," said the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party of Korea.
North Korea will mercilessly devastate U.S. military bases in Japan should American forces there move a bit, the newspaper said, stressing that Pyongyang will further step up its nuclear deterrence.
"We are fully prepared for all scenarios and extraordinarily ramp up our nuclear deterrence, which will become a reality before long," the Rodong Sinmun warned.
The warning is widely construed as signaling North Korea's intention to conduct a fresh nuclear test.
Despite international warnings, North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests since 2006, including the third and most powerful one in February last year.
Roughly 36,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan, while Washington keeps about 28,500 forces in South Korea as a deterrent against North Korean provocations.
The two Koreas remain technically in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. (Yonhap)