(ATTN: UPDATES with S. Korean ministry's response in last 2 paras)
SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's foreign minister warned Thursday that Pyongyang will take "fiercer" military actions if the United States sticks to its campaign for the strengthening of the extended deterrence to its regional allies.
In a statement, Choe Son-hui took issue with an agreement of the leaders of South Korea, the United States and Japan earlier this week to bolster the extended deterrence capabilities, which refer to Washington's readiness to provide Seoul with all necessary options, both nuclear and conventional, to deter aggression or provocation by the North.
Should the North stage additional provocations, the U.S. is expected to dispatch such strategic assets as nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, submarines and long-distance nuclear bombers more frequently to and around the peninsula in a show of its force and unwavering commitment to the defense of South Korea.
"The keener the U.S. is on the 'bolstered offer of extended deterrence' to its allies and the more they intensify provocative and bluffing military activities on the Korean peninsula and in the region, the fiercer the DPRK's military counteraction will be in direct proportion to it," Choe stressed in the English- language statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
In a "stern" warning, Choe said the latest trilateral summit will bring the Korean Peninsula further to an "unpredictable" phase.
The North's move will "pose a more serious, realistic and inevitable threat" to the U.S. and its allies, as Washington will get to realize that it is taking a "gamble" that it would regret, she added.
It marked the first time that Choe issued a statement as Pyongyang's top diplomat since she was promoted to the post in May from that of vice foreign minister.
Seoul's foreign ministry expressed regret over Choe's statement followed by another short-range ballistic missile launch, saying the North is trying to shift "responsibility" for regional tensions to the outside world.
"North Korea's illegal nuclear and missile provocations, which clearly violate a number of U.N. Security Council resolutions, will lead to the strengthening of the South Korea-U.S. alliance's deterrence and security cooperation among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan," the ministry's spokesperson Lim Soo-suk said during a regular press briefing.
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