North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his country to be ready to use its nuclear weapons at any time and to turn its military posture to "pre-emptive attack" mode in the face of growing threats from its enemies, official media said on Friday.
The comments carried by official KCNA news agency marked a further escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula after the U.N. Security Council imposed harsh new sanctions against the isolated state for its nuclear program.
Kim made the comments as he supervised the exercise of newly developed multiple rocket launchers, KCNA reported. It did not mention the date of the drills but said the new weapons had South Korea within range.
Kim said North Korea should "bolster up (its) nuclear force both in quality and quantity" and stressed "the need to get the nuclear warheads deployed for national defense always on standby so as to be fired any moment," KCNA quoted him as saying.
"Now is the time for us to convert our mode of military counteraction toward the enemies into an preemptive attack one in every aspect."