N. Korea to Continue Mass-Producing Nukes, Missiles

N. Korea to Continue Mass-Producing Nukes, MissilesN. Korea to Continue Mass-Producing Nukes, Missiles

Kim Jong-Un urged North Korea to mass-produce nuclear warheads and missiles in a defiant New Year message Monday suggesting he would continue to accelerate a rogue weapons program that has sent international tensions soaring.

Pyongyang dramatically ramped up its efforts to become a nuclear power in 2017, despite a raft of international sanctions and increasing bellicose rhetoric from the United States, AFP reported.

“We must mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missile and speed up their deployment,” said Kim in his annual address to the nation, reiterating his claims that North Korea had achieved its goal of becoming a nuclear state.

Kim presided over multiple missile tests in 2017 and carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test—which it said was a hydrogen bomb—in September.

The North says its weapons program is designed to be able to target the US mainland.

US President Donald Trump has responded to each test with his own amplified declarations, threatening to “totally destroy” Pyongyang and taunting Kim, saying the North Korean leader was on “a suicide mission”.

But far from persuading Kim to give up his nuclear drive, analysts say Trump’s tough talk may have prompted the North Korean leader to accelerate his dangerous quest.

“(The North) can cope with any kind of nuclear threats from the US and has a strong nuclear deterrence that is able to prevent the US from playing with fire,” Kim said Monday.

“The nuclear button is always on my table. This is not blackmail but reality.”

Meanwhile, Kim offered an olive branch to South Korea, saying he was “open to dialogue” with Seoul, Reuters reported.

“When it comes to North-South relations, we should lower the military tensions on the Korean Peninsula to create a peaceful environment,” Kim said. “Both the North and the South should make efforts.”

Kim said he will consider sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics Games to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February.

“North Korea’s participation in the Winter Games will be a good opportunity to showcase the national pride and we wish the Games will be a success. Officials from the two Koreas may urgently meet to discuss the possibility,” Kim said.


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