(PHOTO: Getty Images)
North Korea on Tuesday condemned the deployment of a US nuclear aircraft carrier and its strike group near the Korean peninsula and warned that it was prepared to respond to a "pre-emptive strike", according to authorities.
"If the US dares opt for a military action, crying out for pre-emptive attack and removal of the headquarters, North Korea is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US" a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The statement came after the Pentagon announced Saturday that it was deploying the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and a Navy strike group to waters off the North Korean coast in response to the latest missile provocations by the Pyongyang regime, on April 5.
"We will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms," the statement added.
Following President Donald Trump's inauguration in January, the US government has called for a tighter approach of dealing with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programme, Efe news reported.
The ministry also highlighted the fact that Washington has analyzed different scenarios for carrying out a pre-emptive strike at the hermit state or eliminating its leader Kim Jong-un.
"We will hold the US wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions." the spokesperson said, adding "The prevailing grave situation proves once again that (North Korea) was entirely just when it increased in every way its military capabilities for self-defence and pre-emptive attack with a nuclear force as a pivot."
Tension on the Korean peninsula has been increasing amid suspicions that Pyongyang may be preparing a new missile or nuclear test this month.
North Korea convened its annual parliamentary session on Tuesday to commemorate the fifth anniversary of former leader Kim Jong-il's transition to power.
In addition, the country will also celebrate the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il-sung, this Saturday and the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army on April 25.
Copyright © 2016 The Statesman Limited. All Rights Reserved.