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US tells Pyongyang to cease ‘destabilising actions’

IANS | Washington |

With tensions escalating between the US and North Korea, the Pentagon has called for Pyongyang to avoid destabilising the situation further, officials said.

"We call on (North Korea) to refrain from provocative, destabilising actions and rhetoric, and to make the strategic choice to fulfil its international obligations and commitments and return to serious talks," CNN quoted Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross as saying on Sunday. 

"North Korea's unlawful weapons programmes represent a clear, grave threat to US national security."

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

Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North Korean government's Central Committee, said in an editorial the country is ready to illustrate its "military force" by sinking the "nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike".

The newspaper claimed Pyongyang has weaponry that "can reach continental US and Asia Pacific region" and the "absolute weapon", a hydrogen bomb.

On April 19, the US said that it was sending the USS Carl Vinson towards North Korea and that the strike group that it leads would reach there by late April, reports CNN.

The State Department on Sunday said 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," a department spokesperson said.

"Together with the international community, we will hold the Kim Jong-un regime accountable for its dangerous and reckless actions and serious human rights abuses through a robust international campaign to cut North Korea off from the rest of the world through diplomatic, security, and economic measures," CNN quoted the official as saying