North Korea, angered by what it says are increasingly “aggressive” exercises in the South in conjunction with U.S. forces, said it will strike first with nuclear weapons if it feels threatened.
North Korea also stated it will continue nuclear tests after its recent, 5th nuclear event and will continue ballistic missile testing.
The North has launched over 20 ballistic missile shots in recent months as it strives to increase its ability to deliver payload on target.
“The US has nuclear weapons off our coast, targeting our country, our capital and our dear leader, Kim Jong Un. We will not step back as long as there’s a nuclear threat to us from the United States,” said Lee Yong Pil, director of the Foreign Ministry’s Institute for American Studies, reports NBC News.
“If we see that the US would do it to us, we would do it first,” Lee said. “We have the technology. We have to have nuclear weapons to protect our country, and it’s our policy to go nuclear.”
Lee also stated North Korea has the ability to launch a missile that could hit the west coast of the United States.
American intelligence doesn’t believe this claim as of yet.
Pyongyang also discussed sending satellites into orbit with its new missile launch capability, an ability the West does not believe it has. The regime also discussed space travel.
“In the future, our goal is not just going to the moon, but to other planets,” Ri Won Hyok, a senior official for North Korea’s space program, told NBC News.