N. Korea says future nuclear test depends on U.S. attitude
North Korea said Thursday that a future nuclear test by the communist country will depend on the attitude of the United States, accusing it of being "hell-bent" on toppling the North Korean regime.
Ri Tong-il, a spokesman for North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong, told a press conference on the sidelines of ASEAN-led meetings here that Pyongyang "has no other option" but to defend itself in the face of hostile U.S. policy.
"It depends on the attitude of the United States and the U.S. is hell-bent on increased level of provocations in front of the door of the DPRK," the official said in English, using the acronym of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"Nobody will feel safe if somebody comes up with massive, more sophisticated nuclear weapons. Nobody will be safe and DPRK has no other option but to have self-defensive means to safeguard sovereignty, national dignity and to protect our people from nuclear disaster," he stressed.
North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests, in 2006, 2009 and 2013. Last year, it threatened to conduct a "new form" of nuclear test, prompting speculation it could be preparing to conduct another test based on uranium, not plutonium.
The spokesman warned that North Korea will continue to strengthen and increase its "already diversified with high precision miniaturized nuclear forces to operative level."
North Korea's missile and nuclear programs have raised tensions in the region amid concerns it may soon develop the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on long-range ballistic missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
Some experts now warn that the communist nation's nuclear arsenal could expand to up to 100 bombs by 2020.