The North's statement carried by the state media late yesterday was a repeat of past offers that have been rejected by the US, which wants Pyongyang to commit to a complete abandonment of nuclear weapons.

An unnamed spokesman of the North's Foreign Ministry called the purported hydrogen bomb test on Jan 6 a justifiable move to ensure its survival against external threats.

The spokesman also called the South's decision to restart anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts along their tense border an 'odd' provocation.

The North is extremely sensitive to outside criticism of the authoritarian leadership of Kim Jong Un and has been retaliating to Seoul's loudspeaker campaigns by flying thousands of propaganda leaflets across the border.

Earlier in the week, South Korean troops fired 20 machine gun warning shots after a North Korean drone briefly crossed the border.

The North's H-bomb claims have been met with widespread condemnation and suspicion, but also questions on how to stop the country's growing nuclear threat.

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