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N. Korea blames U.S. for its nuclear weapons development

North Korea claimed Saturday that its nuclear weapons development is an "inevitable self-defensive option" in response to what it called the United States' nuclear threats.

The communist country has long argued that it must defend itself with nuclear weapons in the face of a possible U.S.-led invasion, citing the annual South Korea-U.S. military exercises that are currently under way. Seoul and Washington insist the drills are purely defensive in nature.

"The DPRK's access to nuclear weapons is not a threat but an inevitable self-defensive option for protecting the country and nation from the nuclear disaster to be brought by the U.S.," the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in an English commentary. DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"The stronger the striking capability of the DPRK's nuclear weapons grows, the more powerful the capability to deter aggression and war will become," the KCNA said.

The report also cited an Egyptian newspaper commentary as accusing the U.S of applying double standards by pressuring the North to give up its nuclear program and claiming Israel's "nuclear scenario" is "designed to achieve peace."

"The U.S. nuclear threat and blackmail and joint military drills are the source of pushing the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war," the KCNA claimed. "It has posed a ceaseless nuclear threat to the DPRK, deploying nuclear weapons in South Korea and staging frantic nuclear war drills against the DPRK for over half a century."

North Korea has stepped up its threats and angry rhetoric in recent weeks after the U.N. Security Council adopted tough sanctions punishing the regime for its fourth nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch in February. (Yonhap)

Korea Herald daum