Oct 15, 1:28 PM EDT

North Korea lawmaker: Need nukes because of US threat


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MOSCOW (AP) -- A high-ranking North Korean official says the country's development of nuclear weapons is necessary because of the threat posed by the United States and contends the nuclear program is for deterrence.

The deputy chairman of the parliament of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ahn Dong Chun, made the comments Sunday at an assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in St. Petersburg, Russia.

"Our country is being threatened, the very existence of the DPRK is at stake," he said, referring to statements by President Donald Trump at the UN General Assembly.

"Our nuclear programs are nuclear deterrence programs aimed at protecting our independence; we have no choice but to develop our nuclear programs," he said, according to Russian state news agency Tass.

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