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North Korea Threatens To Shoot Down U.S. Air Force Planes

DPRK officials claim the prospect of nuclear conflict is 'coming closer'

North Korean officials are warning they may start shooting down U.S. planes, alleging that maneuvers near the Korean Peninsula are tightening tensions in the region and raising the prospect of nuclear war.

In a statement issued July 10, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defence of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) opposed the deployment of a U.S. nuclear submarine to the region, which U.S. military officials recently announced would be taking place.

“This is a very dangerous situation as it will bring the regional military tension to a more critical state and may incite the worst crisis of nuclear conflict in practice,” the DPRK spokesman said. “The present situation clearly proves that the situation of the Korean peninsula is coming closer to the threshold of nuclear conflict due to the U.S. provocative military action.”

North Korea says it considers the deployment of strategic nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula “undisguised nuclear blackmail against the DPRK and its neighboring countries and a grave threat and challenge to the regional and global peace and security.”

The Pentagon dismissed the warning from North Korea, which has a long history of issuing fiery threats to the United States.

“So those accusations are just accusations,” Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh told reporters.

South Korea’s president, just one day prior, said that it was time the international community displayed resolve to deter North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

“Now is the time to clearly demonstrate that the international community’s determination to deter North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is stronger than North Korea’s desire to develop nuclear weapons,” President Yoon Suk Yeol told the Associated Press (AP) in a written statement about an upcoming NATO summit.

“Peace is never as certain and reliable as when it is backed by powerful force and deterrence,” Yoon added. “Strong international sanctions against North Korea have the effect of preventing the advancement of its nuclear and missile capabilities.”

The DPRK alleges that the U.S. is becoming “more frantic in its military espionage,” and says there is no guarantee that North Korea will not down a U.S. Air Force plane near its territory.

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