A North Korean leader who has been in power since late 2011 and whose regime has waged a series of bloody, blood-soaked campaigns to consolidate its grip on the isolated country, says his country has no intention of ever abandoning its nuclear weapons.
Kim Jong Un made the comments in a televised address to a gathering of senior members of the ruling Workers’ Party on Sunday, a day after the U.S. deployed its THAAD missile defense system in South Korea, the South’s most important ally.
The North has long been a steadfast supporter of the nuclear deal signed with the United States in January and has long argued that Washington should not take the lead in testing its missile defense capabilities in the event of a war with North Korea.
In his address, Kim Jong Nam said he was “not sure whether the US has the courage to act” after Trump threatened to strike North Korea with an intercontinental ballistic missile.
He said he had heard that Trump had a “good feeling” about the THAAS system, and that the U, the United Nations and other countries should “act in a way that has no impact on the nuclear situation” on the Korean Peninsula.
Trump, who said earlier this week that he could use the THAS system to strike the North, has repeatedly said that he does not intend to use it, saying he is confident it will be used.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday said in a tweet that he “strongly believes” Trump is “not talking about THAADS.”
Moon has repeatedly insisted that the North’s nuclear program is a non-starter, calling for “stronger sanctions” to be put in place to prevent the North from carrying out a third nuclear test.
In the televised address, North Korean officials also used the opportunity to stress the importance of the state’s relationship with the U: The country will never abandon its support for the United States defense alliance, they said.
The U.N. Security Council on Saturday adopted a resolution that called for a new round of North Korea sanctions against the North if it fails to implement the U’s tough new sanctions, including a ban on exports of coal and oil.
South Korea’s unification ministry said in an online statement Sunday that the new sanctions will be put into place on Tuesday.
The announcement comes amid growing tensions in the region.
North Korea has conducted a series or tests of intercontinental missiles and nuclear warheads in recent months, raising fears of a wider war with the South.