04:38 GMT +312 November 2019
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    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at a ceremony to open a new residential area on Ryomyong Street in Pyongyang. File photo

    'US Mainland in Our Nuclear Strike Range' - Kim Jong-un

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    North Korea's Supreme Leader offered a sobering New Year's Day message, touting the country's intercontinental nuclear strike capabilities. Despite his indications that this would serve as a deterrent to invasion, the statement is most likely to add fuel to the fire.

    In his New Year's Day speech on Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un touted his country as a nuclear power which possesses the technological capability of striking the US mainland.

    "The US mainland is in our nuclear strike range. The United States will never start a war with me and our country," he said, adding that Pyongyang has "completed the creation of North Korea's nuclear forces."

    Kim also emphasized that "the nuclear button is always on my desk," which he said is "not blackmail but reality."

    READ MORE: Larger Version? Kim Jong-un Reportedly Orders Launch of New ICBM Next Year

    Meanwhile, Retired Admiral Mike Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has warned that Washington and Pyongyang are now closer than ever to a nuclear war.

    "We're actually closer in my view to a nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we've ever been. I don't see the opportunities how to solve this diplomatically at this particular point," Mullen told ABC News.

    The tensions around North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons program persist due to the repeated nuclear tests and missile launches carried out by Pyongyang in violation of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

    READ MORE: Japan Reportedly Mulls Over Four Possible Scenarios of War on Korean Peninsula

    As a response measure, the UNSC has introduced a spate of  sanctions against Pyongyang aimed at hampering the development of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

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    Tags:
    blackmail, tensions, nuclear strike, war, technology, Kim Jong-un, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), United States
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