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North Korean FM: We Can Deter U.S. 'Nuclear Threat'

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong says the Korean Peninsula is a "nuclear powder keg" and that Pyongyang has the power to deter an "increasing" U.S. nuclear threat.

Ri said in a rare speech to the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament on March 3 that ongoing joint military exercises by South Korea and the United States are "unprecedentedly provocative in nature and have an especially high possibility of sparking a war."

He added that North Korea must "bolster its nuclear deterrent capability to cope with the ever-increasing nuclear threat of the United States."

Ri told the Geneva forum that Pyongyang has the power to deter the United States and could conduct a preemptive strike against U.S. forces if necessary.

He said North Korea would undertake great efforts to bring "great change in inter-Korean relations this year."

Based on reporting by Reuters