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North Korea warns of retaliation

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SEOUL: North Korea has warned it will retaliate if the global community ramps up sanctions over its latest round of weapons tests.

This comes as US President Donald Trump warned that the US was ready to bring Pyongyang to heel alone if China did not step in.

North Korea has accelerated its missile programme in recent months, with a volley of tests which it says will put it closer to being able to hit the US mainland with a nuclear weapon.

US-based analysts have said North Korea appears to be preparing a new atomic test. It has staged five nuclear tests so far, with two last year.

North Korea's foreign ministry on Monday slammed Washington for its tough talk and for an ongoing joint military exercise with South Korea and Japan which Pyongyang sees as a dress rehearsal for invasion.

The "reckless actions" are driving the tense situation on the Korean peninsula "to the brink of a war", a ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by the official KCNA news agency.

"Now that the US fails to face up to the trend of times but incites confrontation to strangle the DPRK (North Korea), the DPRK is left with no option but to take necessary counteraction against it.

"The world will soon witness what eventful steps the DPRK will take to frustrate the hideous and reckless sanctions racket", he said, without elaborating.

North Korea frequently makes unspecific threats in its state media.

The statement comes ahead of a first face-to-face meeting between Mr Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping this week at the US president's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.- AFP

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