US, North Korea trade threats over potential missile test

In this Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, photo, what is believed to be an improved version of the KN-08 ballistic missile is paraded in Pyongyang, North Korea, during the 70th anniversary celebrations of its ruling party's creation. Pyongyang has long claimed it has the right to develop nuclear weapons to defend itself against the U.S., an established nuclear power with whom it has been in a state of war for more than 65 years. But to build a credible nuclear threat, the North must explode new nuclear devices — including miniaturized ones — so its scientists can improve their designs and technology. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea says it reserves the right to test an intercontinental ballistic missile whenever it sees fit, in the latest rhetorical volley with Washington over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

The North’s Korean Central News Agency on Monday quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying, “The ICBM will be launched anytime and anywhere determined by the supreme headquarters” of the country.

Kim Jong Un announced in his New Year’s address that the country had reached the “final stages” of ICBM development. The North has not explicitly said it will conduct an ICBM test in the immediate future.

On Sunday, on “Meet the Press,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the U.S. military would shoot down any North Korean missiles appearing to be headed toward territory of the U.S. or its allies.

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