North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said today that the United States should be aware that his country’s nuclear forces are now a reality, not a threat.
But he also struck a conciliatory tone in his New Year’s address, wishing success for the Winter Olympics set to begin in South Korea in February and suggesting the North may send a delegation to participate.
Kim, wearing a Western-style grey suit and tie, said in his customary annual address that his country had achieved the historic feat of “completing” its nuclear forces and added that he has a nuclear button on his desk.
“The U.S. should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table,” he said during the speech, as translated by The Associated Press.
He added, “The entire area of the U.S. mainland is within our nuclear strike range. … The United States can never start a war against me and our country.”
He also called for improved relations with the South, an idea mentioned in speeches more often than it is met. He said the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics would be a good opportunity to showcase the status of the Korean nation.
Kim also stressed North Korea’s economic achievements during the speech, and noted the importance of improving the nation’s standard of living.