TOKYO, February 2. /TASS/. The military and political situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the region on the whole has reached its peak because of the actions on behalf of the United States and its allies, a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by the Korean Central News Agency on Thursday.
However, the statement continued, North Korea is able to cope with any US military threats and scenarios with the use of its nuclear weapons.
According to the statement from the North Korean Foreign Ministry, Pyeongyang will resort "to any toughest measure" in response to any US military attempt guided by the principle of "nuke for nuke and an all-out confrontation for an all-out confrontation."
The statement comes in the wake of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s visit to South Korea, where he stated that Washington was committed to using conventional and nuclear deterrents to protect South Korea. According to a joint statement by the two countries’ defense chiefs, they "pledged to further expand and bolster the level and scale of this year's combined exercises and training."
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted on Thursday the statement from the North Korean Foreign Ministry as saying: "This is a vivid expression of the US dangerous scenario which will result in turning the Korean Peninsula into a huge war arsenal and a more critical war zone."
"If the U.S. continues to introduce strategic assets into the Korean peninsula and its surrounding area, the DPRK will make clearer its deterring activities without fail according to their nature," the statement reads.
Speaking at a joint news conference with South Korean Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup earlier this week, Austin noted that 28,500 US troops were stationed in South Korea, constituting one of the largest US overseas troop contingents. The two countries made much progress in boosting cooperation in the past year, the Pentagon chief said, adding that the US and South Korea had stepped up retaliatory measures amid threats from North Korea.