SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed Sunday to defend his country against hostility from the United States after the totalitarian state said last week it will test a nuclear weapon.
Mr. Kim supported government statements that "powerful physical countermeasures would be taken to defend" the dignity and sovereignty of the nation, the official Korean Central News Agency said in a report Sunday. Mr. Kim expressed the resolution to take "substantial and high-profile important state measures," KCNA said, without elaborating.
North Korea has probably made enough progress to test a weapon in "a few weeks or less" once the leadership gives the order, according to a statement posted on the 38north.org website of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where recent satellite photos were analyzed.
North Korea on Thursday threatened to test a nuclear weapon to derail "hostile" U.S. policies, after the Obama administration pushed through United Nations sanctions against the country for launching a rocket last month. The White House said the threat is "needlessly provocative" and will lead to further isolation and sanctions.
Mr. Kim spoke at a meeting of foreign affairs and security officials discussing events on the Korean Peninsula, KCNA said. U.S. reaction to North Korea's rocket "indicates that the U.S. has reached its height in its anti-DPRK strategy," the news agency said, citing a report to the meeting. DPRK refers to the country's official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The Punggye-ri nuclear site, where previous detonations were conducted in 2006 and 2009, may be in a continued state of readiness, according to the 38north.org website.