North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un said Tuesday that there "will never" be denuclearization on the Korean peninsula if the US "persists in its hostile policy towards" the hermit nation, according to the country's state news agency.
At a meeting of ruling party officials, the North Korean leader also said his country's long-term security will be guaranteed by staying on constant alert and relying on "the powerful nuclear deterrent capable of containing the nuclear threats from the US," according to the Korean Central News Agency.
KCNA released the report at the end of "The 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea." In the plenary, Kim said "the DPRK will steadily develop necessary and prerequisite strategic weapons for the security of the state until the US rolls back its hostile policy towards the DPRK and lasting and durable peace-keeping mechanism is built."
The comments from Kim come as American officials closely monitor North Korea following its promise earlier this month to deliver a "Christmas gift" to the US . On Sunday, National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said the US is prepared to take action if the so-called gift is delivered, including a potential long-range missile test. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the US is watching Pyongyang "very closely" in light of the "Christmas gift" threat.
The country had promised the gift if the US doesn't provide concessions like sanctions relief by its self-imposed, year-end deadline. The Trump administration had widely interpreted the promise of a "Christmas gift" to mean a weapons test, especially as intelligence indicators grew. Though no such tests have been detected from North Korea since Christmas, officials have remained watchful in the days following the holiday.
The KCNA report said Tuesday that Kim "solemnly declared that there is no need to hesitate with any expectation of the US lift of sanctions even now that we had close look into the real intention of the US."
The leader also said North Korea "will reliably put on constant alert the powerful nuclear deterrent capable of containing the nuclear threats from the US," according to KCNA.
This, Kim said, will guarantee "our long-term security, noting that the scope and depth of bolstering our deterrent will be properly coordinated depending on the (US') future attitude (toward) the DPRK."