North Korea's foreign minister has warned that the country is ready to launch "another attack" following its latest nuclear test. Ri Yong Ho said the last nuclear test – Pyongyang's fifth and most powerful – was meant to counter threats emerging from the US.

"The Korean people have indicated that we are ready to wage a counterattack against provocation by enemies," said Ri while speaking at a gathering in Venezuela, AFP reported.

"It was inevitable that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea would use the option of nuclear armament after having done everything to safeguard national security in view of constant threats from the United States," the top North Korean official said.

Ri added that Pyongyang's actions are "legitimate" in the wake of provocations from the US. He was addressing a gathering of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Venezuela. The North has also been on a diplomatic campaign in a bid to beat international sanctions clamped on the reclusive nation.

The North's response comes shortly after Washington flew B-1 bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force against Pyongyang's nuclear blast. The flight had enraged the Kim Jong-regime, which has been accusing the US of drumming up tension in the region.

Meanwhile, North Korea has vowed to strengthen its nuclear arsenal following its last test on 9 September and insisted the economic sanctions on the country were "laughable". South Korea has also warned that Pyongyang is capable of conducting another nuclear test in the near future.

North Korea missile launch
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly supervised the launch of three ballistic missiles into the East Sea on 5 September - File photo KNS/AFP/Getty Images