As tensions continue to escalate between Washington and Pyongyang, North Korea said on Monday that it will strengthen its nuclear force “to the maximum.”
A spokesman for the North Korea foreign ministry claimed its latest threat came in direct response to mounting warnings by the U.S. that it would no longer stand by while North Korea tests its nuclear arsenals.
Last week, President Donald Trump said a “major, major conflict” with North Korea has been a possibility. The U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier group to the waters off North Korea to carry out drills with South Korea.
"Now that the U.S. is kicking up the overall racket for sanctions and pressure against the DPRK, pursuant to its new DPRK policy called 'maximum pressure and engagement', the DPRK will speed up at the maximum pace the measure for bolstering its nuclear deterrence," the spokesman told KCNA news agency.
The spokesman then said measures “for bolstering the nuclear force to the maximum” will be taken by the country’s leadership, Reuters reported.
On Saturday, North Korea conducted another missile test. In total, the secretive regime has launched at least five nuclear tests and several missiles in defiance of U.N. Security Council and unilateral resolutions.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told “Fox News Sunday” that Trump was reaching out to countries across the world to join him in the effort to destroy North Korea’s fledging nuclear weapons program.
“It’s an open defiance of the international community,” McMaster said. “It’s important for all of us to confront this regime… . None of us can accept a North Korea with a nuclear weapon.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.