SEOUL – North Korea’s leader said on Friday his country has achieved a rapid development of its strategic weaponry and is capable of posing a substantial nuclear threat to the United States, state news agency KCNA quoted him as saying.
Kim Jong-un made his remarks during a meeting with high-ranking Workers Party officials after Pyongyang successfully tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to date at the end of November. According to the regime, it is now capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead and reaching all US territory.
“The rapid development of the DPRK’s nuclear force is now exerting big influence on the world political structure and strategic environment,” the North Korean leader said in his opening address.
“Nobody can deny the entity of the DPRK which rapidly emerged as a strategic state capable of posing a substantial nuclear threat to the US,” Kim Jong-un said in a speech delivered to officials from the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, KCNA reported.
The leader also stressed that Pyongyang is facing “grave challenges that should not be overlooked,” although he called on the North Korean people to be “optimistic about progress of our revolution under this situation” instead of feeling “disappointed” by or “afraid” of such challenges.
Kim Jong-un delivered the speech on the same day that the UN Security Council plans to vote on a new proposal from the US to expand sanctions against the isolated Asian country, in response to the ICBM test conducted on Nov. 29.
If approved, the US-drafted resolution would further cut Pyongyang’s access to hydrocarbons and order the repatriation of North Koreans working outside the country, according to diplomatic sources.
Washington argues that the income earned by many of these workers in places like Russia or China is used by Pyongyang to finance its nuclear and missile programs.