Less than a week before North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the continental US, a North Korean official said the country's nuclear program is only targeting the US.
Ri Jong-hyok, the Deputy of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly delivered the comments during the Asian Parliamentary Assembly in Turkey, according to Yonhap News.
“It’s Korean people’s resolute decision that (North Korea) should face off the US only with nuclear (weapons) to achieve the balance of power,” Ri reportedly said.
Ri also claimed that North Korea's nuclear program is just a defense tool against the US.
"Our nuclear deterrence is a sword of justice aimed at fighting (U.S.) nuke and Asia and any country in the world need not worry about our threats as long as they do not join invasion and provocations toward us."
He also pledged that North Korea would fight the US's "scheme of nuclear war" and increased sanctions, Yonhap reported.
Earlier this month, the US declared North Korea a "state sponsor of terror" and imposed even stricter sanctions.
A US intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed concern that imposing additional sanctions could cause backlash, according to Reuters. The official said Kim could respond in a number of ways, including renewing missile tests.
On Wednesday, North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that reached an altitude of 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles). On a normal trajectory the missile should be able to fly 13,000 kilometers (8,100 miles), putting Washington DC and all of the continental US in its range.