SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea sharpened its tone in the standoff with the United States on Monday, publicly threatening for the first time to develop a "nuclear deterrent" unless Washington abandons its "hostile" stance toward the communist nation.
The statement was the isolated North's most direct admission of its intention to develop nuclear weapons. Until now, Pyongyang has referred to its need for "physical deterrence" against what it calls U.S. plans to attack it, though U.S. officials say the North Koreans told them privately that the country already has nuclear bombs.
"If the U.S. keeps threatening the DPRK with nukes instead of abandoning its hostile policy toward Pyongyang, the DPRK will have no option but to build up a nuclear deterrent force," the KCNA news agency said in its official English translation, using the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The regime also linked its nuclear ambitions to an effort to rebuild the country's shattered economy.
a dispatcher, then fleeing in a cruiser, as they tried to book him for car theft.
Devin Moore, 18, was captured nearly four hours later after shooting the three Saturday in this rural community of about 5,000 people. He remained in jail without bond and faces a possible death penalty if convicted.
Moore, who had just graduated from high school and was about to join the Air Force, allegedly took one of the officer's guns, shot all three at the Fayette police station and fled, prosecutors said. He was captured in Mississippi, about 12 miles west of the Alabama line.
A public defender for Moore had not yet been assigned.