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US pushes back against North Korean war rhetoric

North Korea warned Seoul on Saturday that the Korean Peninsula had entered 'a state of war.' US officials note that North Korea has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats, but they're taking additional defensive measures just in case.

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North Korean Army officers punch the air as they chant slogans during a rally at Kim Il-sung Square in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday. Tens of thousands of North Koreans turned out for the mass rally at the main square in Pyongyang in support of their leader Kim Jong-un's call to arms.

Jon Chol Jin/AP

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In the wake of North Korea’s latest warlike pronouncements, the United States is assuming a sober, tough-minded stance it hopes will avert further threats and provocative acts by Pyongyang.

North Korea warned Seoul on Saturday that the Korean Peninsula had entered “a state of war” and it threatened to shut down a border factory complex involving both countries.

"We've seen reports of a new and unconstructive statement from North Korea," said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden in a statement Saturday. "We take these threats seriously and remain in close contact with our South Korean allies. But we would also note that North Korea has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats and today's announcement follows that familiar pattern.”

"As [Defense] Secretary [Chuck] Hagel said on Thursday, we remain fully prepared and capable of defending and protecting the United States and our allies," she added. "We continue to take additional measures against the North Korean threat, including our plan to increase the U.S. ground-based interceptors and early warning and tracking radar, and the signing of the [South Korea-US] counter-provocation plan."

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