Kim says US should know North Korean nuclear force is a reality

SHARE Kim says US should know North Korean nuclear force is a reality
southkoreanorthkoreakim.jpg

South Koreans watch a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s speech, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. The letters read on top left, “Kim Jong Un delivers New Year’s speech.” | Lee Jin-man/AP photo

TOKYO — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Monday 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 the South in February and suggesting the North may send a delegation to participate.

Kim, wearing a Western-style gray suit and tie, said in his customary annual address his country had achieved the historic feat of “completing” its nuclear forces and added 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 provisionally translated by the AP. The official transcript of his address was expected to be released shortly. “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.”

Kim 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.

He said the North and South could meet urgently to discuss the North sending a delegation.

“The Winter Olympic games that will be held soon in the South will be a good opportunity to display the status of the Korean nation and we sincerely wish that the event will be held with good results,” he said.

The New Year’s address is an annual event in the North and is watched closely for indications of the direction and priorities Kim may adopt in the year ahead.

This year’s speech was seen as particularly important because of the high tensions over Pyongyang’s frequent missile launches and its nuclear test in 2017. The tests were the focus of fiery verbal exchanges between the North and U.S. President Donald Trump, who has derisively called Kim, “little rocket man.”

Kim also stressed North Korea’s economic achievements during the speech, and noted the importance of improving the nation’s standard of living.

AP writer Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

The Latest
Day 1 of the NBA free-agent period was hijacked by Kevin Durant’s desire to be traded out of Brooklyn, and while the Bulls did their due diligence in trying to gage what a Durant package would look like, the top priority remained keeping LaVine in Chicago.
Jackson, a federal judge since 2013, on Thursday became the first Black woman elevated to the nation’s highest court. Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted that her “ascension to the bench now tells the world that the seemingly impossible is possible. So proud!”
Joseph Guardia, 27, has been charged with the attack. He has offered no motive to police other than he is an “angry person,” according to prosecutors.
R. Kelly’s legal saga has been an unnecessarily drawn out debacle fueled by denial, greed and the willingness to ignore the cries of mostly Black girls and women.
“To Chicago’s businesses, I want to say loud and clear: Labor laws are not optional. We will hold you accountable,” said a city official on consumer protection.