North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Monday night his country would soon conduct a nuclear warhead test and test launch ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, Reuters reported.
Kim made the comments as he supervised a successful simulated test of atmospheric re-entry of a ballistic missile that measured the "thermodynamic structural stability of newly-developed heat-resisting materials," the official North Korean KCNA news agency said.
"Declaring that a nuclear warhead explosion test and a test-fire of several kinds of ballistic rockets able to carry nuclear warheads will be conducted in a short time to further enhance the reliance of nuclear attack capability, he (Kim) instructed the relevant section to make prearrangement for them to the last detail," the agency said.
The North Korean leader has upped his rhetoric in recent days, saying last week his country now possesses nuclear warheads small enough to fit on ballistic missiles.
The previous week, Kim ordered his country to be prepared to use nuclear weapons “at any time”.
The latest report comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula as South Korean and U.S. troops stage annual military exercises that Seoul has described as the largest ever.
The North has issued belligerent statements almost daily, after coming under new United Nations sanctions, noted Reuters.
The United Nations Security Council imposed a new resolution to tighten sanctions against the North after a nuclear test in January and the launch of a long-range rocket last month.
Kim's comments mark the second time in the last week that he has threatened that his country would conduct more nuclear tests.