North Korea lawmaker: Need nukes because of United States threat

The 10-day exercises will see the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, the USS Michigan nuclear-powered submarine, stealth fighters, and other American strategic assets arriving at the peninsula.

North Korea has said its possession of nuclear and missile technologies is non-negotiable as it is vital for it to defend itself against perceived and overt military threats from the United States.

Thought to be a main ally and economic supporter of North Korea, China has implemented a series of measures created to restrict its trade with the North after the United Nations adopted sanctions over the North's missile and nuclear tests. Historically, the North had tended not to provoke directly during the military drills. Earlier, the White House said US President Donald Trump will travel to Asia from 3-14 November, during which he will visit South Korea and possibly the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas.

The Rodong Sinmun commentary was published ahead of joint US-South Korea naval drills, which kick off in the Sea of Japan and Yellow Sea on Monday. The US nuclear-powered submarine MI is also likely to take part. Their summit comes as tensions have heightened in the wake of the North's sixth nuclear test last month and a series of ballistic missile launches.

The United Nations has imposed sanctions on the North for its weapons tests. There is a possibility that these could either be the Hwasong-14 inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), whose range encompasses Alaska, or the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile that North Korea had threatened to fire towards the U.S. territory Guam in August. The country has repeatedly threatened to launch a missile near the American territory in the Pacific. The regime said those launches put the entire USA in its range.

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Joining the U.S. in seeking to increase pressure on North Korea would mean Australia "will not be able to avoid a disaster", the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Saturday cited a foreign ministry spokesman as saying.

The Pyongyang regime has criticised Australia's "dangerous moves" in its support for the United States in its political and military provocations and should it continue it will not be able to "avoid disaster".

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters her country is committed to the North's denuclearization through diplomacy but is also ready for military action alongside the US.

Labor frontbencher Ed Husic said North Korea not only represented a threat to the region but also global security.

  • Adam Floyd