North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in his New Year’s Day speech on Monday called on his country to accelerate mass production of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.
“It is necessary to activate large-scale production and practical deployment of nuclear warheads, ballistic missiles,” Kim was quoted as saying by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. “[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.
North Korean leader also stressed that “The nuclear button is always on my desk. This is not blackmail but reality.”
Meantime, Kim Jong Un also said that North Korea is ready to send its athletes to 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea’s Pyeongchang.
“The Winter Games to be held in South Korea will be a good occasion for the country. We sincerely hope that the Winter Olympics will be a success. We have readiness to take various steps, including the dispatch of the delegation,” Kim said as quoted by South Korean Yonhap news agency.
Kim also said that Pyongyang was ready for the negotiations with Seoul over participation of the North Korean athletes in the games, the agency added.
The year 2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s foundation, Kim added, noting that thanks to the Olympics this year “will also become a significant year for the North and the South.”
“First of all, it is necessary to reduce high military tensions between the North and the South, create peaceful environment on the Korean peninsula,” Kim pointed out.
The tensions around North Korea’s nuclear weapons program have been high recently due to the repeated nuclear and weapons tests carried out by Pyongyang in violation of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. As a response measure, the UNSC has introduced multiple sanctions against Pyongyang aimed at hampering the development of the North Korean nuclear weapons.