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North Korea warns of 'thousand-fold' military retaliation


MOSCOW, June 17 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea warned on Wednesday of an overwhelming military strike against the United States and its allies if they provoke the country.

The statement, carried by the communist state's official news agency KCNA, came a day after U.S. President Barack Obama called the North's nuclear program a "grave threat", and said the new sanctions against Pyongyang would be strictly enforced.

"If the US and its followers infringe upon our republic's sovereignty even a bit, our military and people will launch a one hundred or one thousand-fold retaliation, with a merciless military strike," the agency said.

Obama's comments on Tuesday came after a meeting with South Korean leader Lee Myung-bak in Washington, at which the sides agreed to build a "strategic alliance" to "work together to achieve the complete and verifiable elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, as well as ballistic missile programs."

The presidents' meeting came amid North Korea's threats to strengthen its nuclear arsenal, in defiance of a UN Security Council resolution passed after its May 25 nuclear test.

Both presidents urged the North to change its confrontational stance.

"We urge North Korea not to make any unacceptable demands because we really do not know what will happen if they keep on this path," Lee told reporters after the talks.

The U.S. leader said: "there has been a pattern in the past where North Korea behaves in a belligerent fashion and, if it waits long enough, it is rewarded... I think that is the pattern they have come to expect. The message we are sending them is that we are going to break that pattern."

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