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N. Korea warns it will strengthen nuclear deterrence in the face of hostile U.S.

North Korea warned Friday that it will strengthen its nuclear deterrence capability as long as the United States maintains its current policy of hostility toward the communist country.

In a statement released by the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK), which handles inter-Korean relations, Pyongyang claimed that Washington provided the cause for triggering the nuclear standoff on the Korean Peninsula.

It is perfectly rational to counter nuclear weapons with nuclear weapons, the committee said in the statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as the North's capital city kicks off a rare congress of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK).

The CPRK's latest arguments are the stance that the North has maintained ever since it claimed its status as a nuclear armed nation. The rest of the world, however, has pointedly made it clear that it will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapon state and has urged it to give up its efforts.

The statement outlined by the CPRK's spokesman then said that with the North already having acquired a hydrogen bomb, its status as a nuclear power will remain unchanged. 

The reclusive country tested its first nuclear device in 2006, followed by additional tests carried out in 2009 and 2013, with the latest provocation being carried out in January of this year. The January test and the launch of a long-range ballistic missile the following month caused the United Nations to slap its toughest sanctions to date on the North.

It said that if South Korea's leadership wants to resolve the nuclear standoff it will be advisable for it to get Washington to give up its hostile policy towards the DPRK.

The DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name. 

The committee said that unless the U.S. changes and gives up its nuclear intimidation, the North will move ever more swiftly to build up its own nuclear deterrence capabilities.

Related to the North's push to develop greater atomic weapons capability, the KCNA said in a separate report that the miniaturization of a nuclear warhead and expertise to allow such a device to reenter the atmosphere as well as advanced delivery system technology were all "gifts" offered by the country's arms sector scientists and technicians to the key party congress.

The media outlet said that the North's first hydrogen bomb test and recent long-range rocket test showed the country's status as a nuclear and space power. Pyongyang has maintained that it conducted a hydrogen bomb test in January, although the size of the artificial earthquake it created has raised doubts abroad.

The KCNA said based on such achievements the country will make its next leap forward. (Yonhap)
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