US warns North Korea after threat to sink American ship

New York [U.S.], Apr. 24 : Following North Korea's threat to sink an American vessel, the Pentagon on Sunday called on Pyongyang to avoid destabilizing the situation further.

"We call on (North Korea) to refrain from provocative, destabilizing actions and rhetoric, and to make the strategic choice to fulfill its international obligations and commitments and return to serious talks.

North Korea's unlawful weapons programs represent a clear, grave threat to US national security," Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross said.

The statement came just hours after a North Korean newspaper said Pyongyang was ready to take out a US aircraft carrier conducting drills with Japanese destroyers near the Philippines, reports CNN.

The editorial in the official newspaper of the North Korean government's Central Committee, said the country is ready to illustrate its "military force" by sinking the "nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike." The newspaper further claimed that Pyongyang has weaponry that "can reach continental US and Asia Pacific region" and the "absolute weapon," a hydrogen bomb.

Last September, North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear weapons test and displayed a series of missiles at a military parade earlier this month.

The State Department said Sunday that it remains committed to directly addressing the North Korean nuclear threat.

"Provocations from North Korea have grown far too common and far too dangerous to ignore. Together with the international community, we will hold the Kim Jung-un regime accountable for its dangerous and reckless actions and serious human rights abuses through a robust international campaign to cut the DPRK off from the rest of the world through diplomatic, security, and economic measures.

"With our allies and partners around the world, we will show the DPRK that the only path to a secure, economically-prosperous future is to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs," a department spokesperson said.

"We do not seek military conflict, nor do we seek to threaten North Korea," the spokesperson added. "However, we will respond to threats to us or our allies accordingly. We remain open to talks with the DPRK, but need to see that the DPRK will cease all its illegal activities and aggressive behavior in the region." However, Sunday's threats are consistent with others North Korea has made in past weeks.

Besides asserting that it will respond in kind to any US attack on the country, Pyongyang has also claimed it would strike the US mainland and US carriers and forces in the region, specifically US bases in Seoul and Tokyo.

Source: ANI