SEOUL: North Korea said on Thursday it was prepared to counter United States military moves with the "most overwhelming nuclear force" as it warned that the expansion of Washington's combined military exercises with rival South Korea was pushing tensions to an "extreme red line."

The statement from Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry came in response to comments by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who said in South Korea's capital Seoul on Tuesday that Washington would increase its deployment of advanced military assets to the Korean Peninsula, including fighter jets and aircraft carriers, as it strengthens joint training and operational planning with the South.

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