N.K. can pose ‘substantial’ nuclear threat to U.S.: leader

December 21, 2017

SEOUL, Dec. 22 (Yonhap) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country has become a strategic nation capable of posing a “substantial” nuclear threat to the United States, state media said Friday.

Kim made the remark as North Korea declared last month that it has completed its nuclear armament after firing a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which it claims can put the whole U.S. mainland within its range.

The North’s leader “stressed that nobody can deny the entity of the DPRK which rapidly emerged as a strategic state capable of posing a substantial nuclear threat to the U.S.,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in an English statement.

Kim made the comment in his opening speech at the fifth conference of cell chairpersons of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) on Thursday. Cell chairpersons are those who lead the WPK’s lowest-level units called party cells, which consist of five to 30 members.

The gathering came amid heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Pyongyang conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September and fired ICBMs three times this year.

U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to “take care of” North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile threats as he unveiled the first national security strategy of his administration.

The North’s leader claimed that the country’s rapidly developing nuclear force is “exerting big influence” on the international community.

“Although grave challenges that should not be overlooked face us, we neither feel disappointed nor are afraid of them but are optimistic about progress of our revolution under this situation,” he said.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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