North Korea’s defense ministry warned on Saturday that the US redeployment of an aircraft carrier near the Korean Peninsula would cause “significantly large negative spillovers” to regional security. The country has defended its recent missile tests as a “reasonable reaction” to threatening military exercises among its rivals.
The statement came a day after the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan began a round of naval exercises with South Korean warships off the peninsula’s east coast. Reagan and his battle group returned to the area after North Korea fired a powerful missile over Japan earlier this week in protest of the carrier group’s earlier exercises with South Korea.
“North Korea’s armed forces are seriously approaching the worrying development of the current situation,” an unnamed ministry spokesman said in comments carried by state media. He also called Reagan’s return “a kind of military bluff” to issue a warning about North Korea’s “reasonable reaction” to “the most provocative and threatening joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea.”
North Korea views U.S. and South Korean military exercises as an invasion rehearsal, and is particularly sensitive if those exercises involve strategic U.S. assets such as an aircraft carrier.
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