North Korea has to the US deployment of a Navy strike group to the Korean peninsula by saying it will defend itself “by powerful force of arms”.
The North Korean foreign ministry, quoted by state news agency KCNA, said the deployment showed “reckless moves for invading” had “reached a serious phase”.
The US Pacific Command says it is aimed at maintaining readiness in the region.
President Donald Trump has said the US is prepared to act alone to deal with the nuclear threat from North Korea.
Meanwhile South Korea and China – North Korea’s closest ally – have warned of more stringent sanctions if Pyongyang conducts more missile tests.
The Carl Vinson Strike Group comprises an aircraft carrier and other warships. The warship was due to make port calls in Australia but instead has been diverted from Singapore to the west Pacific, where it recently conducted exercises with the South Korean Navy.
“We will hold the US wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions,” said the foreign ministry statement quoted by KCNA.
“The DPRK is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US,” it said.
The US naval deployment showed North Korea had been right to develop nuclear weapons capability for use in self defense or in a pre-emptive strike, the statement added.
On April 10, China’s envoy for the Korean peninsula, Wu Dawei met with South Korea’s foreign minister and top nuclear envoy.
Korean officials told reporters that the two countries had agreed to enact “strong additional measures” if North Korea conducts further nuclear or missile tests.
China, which is North Korea’s economic lifeline, has already imposed economic sanctions including a ban of all imports of North Korean coal since February.
Meanwhile South Korea, the US and Japan are arranging a meeting later this month to coordinate a joint response to North Korea, reported South Korean news agency Yonhap.
North Korea has carried out several nuclear tests and experts predict more could be in the offing as it moves closer towards developing a nuclear warhead that could reach the US.
There have been indications from Pyonyang that it may test an intercontinental missile, even though it is banned from any tests under UN resolutions.
North Korea says it is provoked by military exercises between the US and South Korea, which it sees as preparation for an invasion.