North Korea has vowed to strengthen its nuclear capabilities to tackle its adversaries as South Korea suspects Pyongyang could undertake another nuclear detonation in the coming months. Meanwhile, the reclusive Kim Jong-un regime yet again warned the US not to increase its "blackmail" against the North.
"As long as the US exists on the earth, a world without nuclear weapons is no more than a daydream and our planet will be in peace only when it is free from its aggression," said Pyongyang's Institute of International Studies, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). "The more the US increases its nuclear blackmail, the more we will strengthen our iron-fist of nukes by hundreds of thousands of times."
Amid the ongoing tensions in the Korean peninsula, South Korean authorities have expressed concerns the North could be gearing up for another nuclear test. Seoul's Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo, the point-man to North Korean affairs, said Pyongyang could very well conduct another detonation within 2016.
"Given signs for preparations for a nuclear test, North Korea is likely to make another provocation this year," the minister was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.
The North had carried out its fifth nuclear test, believed to be the country's most powerful experiment till now, on 9 September sparking a global condemnation. Pyongyang has repeatedly refuseed to scale down its missile and nuclear activities – a serious violation of UN regulations – despite a strong opposition from across the world.
With no political solution in sight, the situation in the Korean peninsula region has been constantly deteriorating for the past few months with rival Koreas stepping up their stinging criticism on each other. The US has also increased its military activities in the region additional army exercises. The US Air Force had also flown a pair of nuclear-capable B-1B bombers twice over the South Korean airspace, closer to the North's border, in a show of force since the nuclear test.