02 January, 2018
"It's reality, not a threat, that the nuclear button is always on my desk", Kim said.
"We're actually closer in my view to a nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we've ever been", Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on ABC's "This Week".
Despite those declarations, Kim then called for accelerated production of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.
The North says its weapons programme is created to be able to target the U.S. mainland and tested increasingly longer-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) throughout 2017. The North sees the regular war drills between the South and the United States as preparations for war.
Last week, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted new sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang's November 29 ballistic missile test, seeking to further strangle its energy supplies and tighten restrictions on smuggling and the use of North Korean workers overseas. He said North Korea's nuclear deterrent was "irreversible" and that it would prevent Trump from starting a war.
"Its entity as an invincible power can neither be undermined nor be stamped out".
The North has always said it will only deal with the U.S. from a position of equality as a nuclear state.More news: VA House of Delegates Race now a Tie
The ship can carry 5,100 tons of oil and has a crew mostly from China and Myanmar, it was reported, adding that South Korea's intelligence and customs officials are conducting a joint probe into the vessel.
"We will make another attempt for contact later in the day", the official said.
Two North Korean athletes - pairs figures skaters - have qualified for the Games but missed the October 30 deadline to confirm to the International Skating Union that they would participate.
The New Year's address is an annual event in North Korea and is watched closely for indications of the direction and priorities Kim may adopt in the year ahead.
"These military exercises that you have with our enemy the United States of America must be halted at this very moment, because this behavior only causes fire and destruction on this great country", the North Korean leader said, apparently addressing South Korea.
He cautioned however that "as long as an unstable state which is neither war nor peace continues, the North and the South can not guarantee a success of the Olympics, sit down for talks or move forward for reunification".