North Korea’s Kim says ‘ready to mobilise’ nuclear weapons

SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country was “ready to mobilise” its nuclear deterrent in any future military clash with the United States and South Korea, state media said.

Washington and Seoul have repeatedly warned that Pyongyang is preparing to carry out its seventh nuclear test — a move that the United States has warned would provoke a “swift and forceful” response.

In Kim’s latest speech to mark the armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War — known as “Victory Day” in the North — he said the country’s armed forces were “thoroughly prepared” for any crisis.

“Our country’s nuclear war deterrent is also ready to mobilise its absolute power faithfully, accurately and promptly in accordance with its mission,” Kim said in a speech on Wednesday, according to Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency.

Speaking to war veterans on the 69th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, Kim emphasised the country’s “thorough readiness” to “deal with any military clash with the United States”.

His latest threats come as South Korea and the United States move to ramp up joint military exercises, which have always infuriated the North as Pyongyang considers them rehearsals for invasion.