North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has revealed that his country's nuclear programme is now complete and he has the nuclear button on his desk. Delivering his New Year's address on state television on Monday, 1 January 2018, he said his country's nuclear arsenal is no longer just a threat but a reality.
He also surprisingly hinted that he is "open to dialogue" with Seoul to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula.
"The entire mainland of the US is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office. They should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality," said the 30-something Kim.
His statement comes after a year full of bellicose rhetoric and rapid advancement of North Korea's weapons programme. In 2017, the diplomatically isolated nation, which is reeling under heavy international sanctions, launched more than a dozen missiles and conducted a nuclear test.
In his address, Kim said: "As for the areas of nuclear weapons research and rocket engineering, we need to accelerate the mass production of nuclear warheads, whose power and reliability have already been secured, and ballistic missiles."
Kim, dressed in a grey suit and tie, added that his country would be ready "to retaliate against the enemy's move for a nuclear war".
While addressing the possibility of resolving tensions in the region through talks, the North Korean leader said: "When it comes to North-South relations, we should lower the military tensions on the Korean Peninsula to create a peaceful environment. Both the North and the South should make efforts."
Tensions have sharply escalated in recent months with both the US and North Korea constantly stepping up their warnings against each other. Top authorities have publicly acknowledged the situation in the region is closer to a war-like scenario than on previous occasions.
Asked to respond to Kim's latest threat, US President Donald Trump said from his New Year's Eve party: "We'll see, we'll see."