January 02, 2018 11:03
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Monday claimed he has a nuclear button installed in his office and is ready to strike at any time.
"The entire mainland of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear weapons, and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office," Kim said in a televised New Year's address. The U.S. "should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality."
But he also hinted at diplomatic overtures to South Korea amid increasingly crippling sanctions. Kim said he is willing to send a North Korean delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and added both Koreas "could urgently meet" to discuss the matter.
But the centerpiece of the speech was boasting of the "historic accomplishment of completing our nuclear capabilities."
"No matter how much America wants to attack us with their military might and nuclear power, they know that now we possess such great nuclear power," he said. Kim added the goal for 2018 is to "mass produce and deploy nuclear warheads and missiles."
Turning to relations with South Korea, Kim said, "I sincerely hope the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will be staged successfully."
"To host the great events of the nation with splendor and demonstrate the dignity and stamina of the nation, we should melt the frozen North-South relations, thus adorning this meaningful year as a year to be specially recorded in the history of the nation," he added.
But he reiterated his demand that the South Korean government stop holding joint military exercises with the U.S. and stop bringing in U.S. weapons.
The speech lasted half an hour. As in previous years, Kim began it by thanking people and soldiers for their "loyalty" and bowed in front of the camera.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com