The USS Ronald Reagan sailed to the southeastern port of Busan on Thursday after participating in naval exercises with Japan and South Korea in international waters, according to the Associated Press.
South Korean officials said the Reagan was there as a means of deterrence while North Koreans claimed it was going to be part of a U.S. attack on North Korea.
“The [North Korean] doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons already opened to public allows the execution of necessary action procedures in case a nuclear attack is launched against it or it is judged that the use of nuclear weapons against it is imminent,” the government’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Friday.
The KCNA added that North Korea’s “most powerful and rapid first strike will be given to the ‘extended deterrence’ means, used by the U.S. to hallucinate its followers, and the bases of evil in the Korean peninsula and its vicinity.”
North Korea also criticized reports that its weapons had been used by Hamas terrorists during their brutal attack against Israel that began last Saturday. The communist country claimed that the reports were an attempt at U.S. propaganda.
“It is nothing but a bid to shift the blame for the Middle East crisis caused by wrong hegemonic policy onto a third country and thus evade the international criticism focused on the empire of evil,” KCNA said.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has said that he has not been able to confirm the reports of North Korean weapons being used in the terror attacks.
Relations between the the U.S. and North Korea have been sour in recent months, especially after North Korea’s Kim Jong Un met with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month to discuss the war in Ukraine, space technology, and the potential for military cooperation between the two countries.
According to the White House, North Korea has been supplying Russia with arms and ammunition, sending 1,000 weapons shipments to a Russian munitions depot.
“We now have information that North Korea has delivered arms to Russia for use in Ukraine,” Kirby said this week. “Our information indicates that in recent weeks North Korea has provided Russia with more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions.”