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(LEAD) N. Korea rebukes redeployment of U.S. aircraft carrier to East Sea

North Korea 11:17 October 06, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with details)

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korea condemned the United States on Thursday for redeploying a U.S. aircraft carrier to the waters east of South Korea, saying the move poses a "grave" threat to stability in the region.

The North's foreign ministry made the condemnation in a public notice, a day after the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier returned to waters near the Korean Peninsula for a joint exercise with South Korea and Japan following the North's firing of an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) earlier this week.

North Korea is "watching the U.S. posing a serious threat to the stability of the situation on the Korean peninsula and in its vicinity by redeploying the carrier task force in the waters off the peninsula," the ministry said in the statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The redeployment came after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday, its first IRBM launch in eight months. The missile launch is widely viewed as the North's protest against Seoul and Washington's latest joint exercises.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier left the waters last week after it engaged in a bilateral naval exercise with South Korea and then a trilateral drill also involving Japan.

This file photo, taken Sept. 26, 2022, shows the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier leaving a naval base in South Korea's southeastern city of Busan. (Yonhap)

North Korea also criticized the U.S. and like-minded countries for their bid to punish its "counteraction measures" against the allies' drills through the U.N. Security Council (UNSC).

The 15-member council had an emergency session Wednesday (U.S. time) to discuss the problem of the North's latest provocation but failed to reach a consensus.

Instead, South Korea, Japan, the U.S. and some other Western members of the council issued a statement condemning the North's latest IRBM launch.

Earlier in the day, North Korea staged yet another provocation by firing two short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea.

The South Korean government pledged to stand united with the international community to sternly deal with North Korea's provocations and military threats.

"North Korea should be clearly aware that its pursuit of nuclear weapons is rather detrimental to the country's security and economy," an official at Seoul's unification ministry told reporters.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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