SEOUL – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said on Monday in his New Year’s Day address that his country has completed its nuclear forces, and called for an increase in production of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for operational deployment.
“We achieved the goal of completing our state nuclear force in 2017,” Kim said in a televised message broadcast by the North Korean state network.
He also stressed the need to “mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles and accelerate their deployment,” the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
Kim said that his country’s nuclear forces have gained a powerful deterrent against the United States and that Pyongyang’s weapons are capable of hitting all of its mainland territory.
“A button is always on my desk,” the North Korean leader said, adding that “this is reality, not a threat.”
Kim also urged Washington and Seoul to end their joint military maneuvers, which the regime criticized as an attempt to invade its country, and extended his hand to Seoul, saying that North and South Korea must improve their relations.
Throughout 2017, North Korea intensified its weapons tests with the launch of about 20 missiles, three of which were intercontinental, and completed its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date in September.
The regime’s repeated weapons tests have triggered a record number of sets of UN sanctions against the Asian country, four in one year.