North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un said his nuclear weapons were a “powerful deterrent” that guaranteed its sovereignty, state media reported on Sunday, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump said “only one thing will work” in dealing with the isolated country.
Trump did not make clear to what he was referring, but his comments seemed to be a further suggestion that military action was on his mind.
In a speech to a meeting of the powerful Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party on Saturday, a day before Trump’s most recent comments, state media said Kim had addressed the “complicated international situation”.
North Korea’s nuclear weapons are a “powerful deterrent firmly safeguarding the peace and security in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia,” Kim said, referring to the “protracted nuclear threats of the U.S. imperialists.”
In recent weeks, North Korea has launched two missiles over Japan and conducted its sixth nuclear test, and may be fast advancing toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.
North Korea is preparing to test-launch such a missile, a Russian lawmaker who had just returned from a visit to Pyongyang was quoted as saying on Friday.
Donald Trump has previously said the United States would “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary to protect itself and its allies.
The situation proved that North Korea’s policy of “byungjin”, meaning the parallel development of nuclear weapons and the economy was “absolutely right”, Kim Jong Un said in the speech.
“The national economy has grown on their strength this year, despite the escalating sanctions,” said Kim, referring to U.N. Security Council resolutions put in place to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile program.