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N. Korea threatens to acquire ICBMs to bolster self-defense
SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Thursday warned it can acquire intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to counter hostile forces and bolster its self-defense capabilities.

   The political review carried by the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, said if "imperialists" have a nuclear arsenal, ICBMs and other types of space-bound weapons, North Korea should have them as well. The North often uses the word "imperialist" to describe the United States.

   It said having such strong defensive capabilities can ensure that enemies of the North will feel fear.

   The newspaper's review, which best reflects the official policy directions of the communist state, said Pyongyang's nuclear capability is a justifiable choice and will contribute to "true peace" for all of mankind.

   The latest announcement comes two days after the North detonated its third nuclear device at its Punggye-ri test complex just before noon Tuesday, despite strong warnings from the international community. The North already launched the long-range Unha-3 rocket on Dec. 12 that effectively has the range of an ICBM. Rocket experts said the rocket's range is over 11,000 kilometers.

   The newspaper also made clear that the United States must realize that it is up against the most merciless adversary if it challenges the North.

   "There can be no compromise in the last fight to herald the victory for independence for humanity and strike a blow to end imperialism," it said.

   The party daily, meanwhile, said in an editorial that Pyongyang is not afraid of international sanctions, and that the country and the people will persevere to build a powerful country.

   It said despite threats posed by Washington, the people and the military will defend the sovereignty of the country.

   The latest warning comes as the North issued a string of threats after the world denounced its third nuclear test with the United Nations in the process of discussing what actions it should take to penalize the country for defying the wishes of the international community. Just hours after the North confirmed it carried out a nuclear test using a "smaller and lighter" device, the country's foreign ministry issued a statement that Pyongyang is ready to conduct additional nuclear tests if the need arises.

   On Wednesday, the Korean Central News Agency, the isolationist country's official news wire service, said that the situation on the Koran Peninsula has become precarious and claimed that even a small regional incident can lead to full-fledged war.

   yonngong@yna.co.kr
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