North Korea's Kim Jong Un issues fiery statement on nuclear weapons: 'This is reality, not a threat'

SEOUL, Jan 1 (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Monday that the United States will never be able to start a war against North Korea now that his country has developed the capability to hit all of the U.S. mainland with its nuclear weapons.

"The entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, and a nuclear button is always on my desk. This is reality, not a threat," Kim said during a televised New Year’s Day speech.

SEE ALSO: U.S., North Korea closer than ever to nuclear war: Mike Mullen

"This year we should focus on mass producing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for operational deployment," Kim said. "These weapons will be used only if our security is threatened."

North Korea tested intercontinental ballistic missiles and conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September in defiance of international warnings and sanctions, raising fears of a new conflict on the Korean peninsula.

18 PHOTOS
North Koreans show devotion for leader Kim Jong Un
See Gallery
North Koreans show devotion for leader Kim Jong Un
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung's birth, in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PYONGYANG PARADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Kim said it is imperative to lower military tensions on the Korean peninsula and improve ties with the South, adding the path to dialog was open.

Kim said he will consider sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics Games to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February.

"North Korea's participation in the Winter Games will be a good opportunity to show unity of the people and we wish the Games will be a success. Officials from the two Koreas may urgently meet to discuss the possibility," Kim said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said North Korea's participation will ensure safety of the Pyeongchang Olympics and proposed last month that Seoul and Washington postpone large military drills that the North denounces as a rehearsal for war until after the Games.

11 PHOTOS
How to survive a nuclear attack
See Gallery
How to survive a nuclear attack

What should you do in the event of a nearby nuclear attack? Click through to learn more. 

(Photo by Lambert/Getty Images)

Seek shelter immediately, towards the center of a building or -- preferably -- a basement. Aim for the same type of shelter you would utilize in the event of a tornado. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

The next three slides are examples of nuclear shelters that exist around the world. 

(Image via Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

The entrance of Shelter Co.'s nuclear shelter model room, which is placed in the basement of the company's CEO Seiichiro Nishimoto's house, is pictured in Osaka, Japan April 26, 2017. (Photo via REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
A fallout shelter sign hangs on the Mount Rona Baptist Church, on August 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. In the early 60's Washington was at the center of civil defense preparations in case of a nuclear blast, with over one thousand dedicated public fallout shelters in schools, churches and government buildings. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
A 'shelter' sign is displayed at the entrance to a subway station in Seoul on July 6, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. According to the metropolitan government, South Korea's city subway stations serve a dual purpose with over 3,300 designated as shelters in case of aerial bombardment including any threat from North Korea. The U.S. said that it will use military force if needed to stop North Korea's nuclear missile program after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday into Japanese waters. The latest launch have drawn strong criticism from the U.S. as experts believe the ICBM has the range to reach the U.S. states of Alaska and Hawaii and perhaps the U.S. Pacific Northwest. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Dense materials, including dirt or thick walls, provide the best defense to fallout radiation.

(Photo via Getty Images)

If possible, take a warm shower -- but do not use conditioner, as it can bond to nuclear particles. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

Do not seek shelter in a car, as they won't provide adequate protection, and you should not attempt to outrun nuclear fallout. 

(Photo by Noel Hendrickson via Getty Images)

The nuclear fallout zone shrinks quickly after an attack, but the less dangerous "hot zone" still grows. 

(Image via Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

Once you are sheltered, do not leave. Listen to a radio or other announcements. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Josh Smith in SEOUL, additional reporting by Heekyong Yang, Editing by Kim Coghill and Michael Perry)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.