World

North Korea's nukes are a 'powerful deterrent'

State media releases Kim Jong Un's statement on sovereignty

SEOUL North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un said his nuclear weapons were a "powerful deterrent" that guaranteed sovereignty, state media reported yesterday, hours after US president Donald Trump said "only one thing will work" in dealing with the isolated country.

Mr Trump did not make clear to what he was referring but his comments seemed to be imply that military action was on his mind.

State media said Mr Kim had addressed the "complicated international situation" in a speech to a meeting of the powerful Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party on Saturday, a day before Mr Trump's most recent comments.

North Korea's nuclear weapons are a "powerful deterrent firmly safeguarding the peace and security in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia", Mr Kim said, referring to the "protracted nuclear threats of the US imperialists".

The meeting also handled personnel changes inside North Korea's secretive ruling centre of power, state media said.

Mr Kim Jong Un's sister, Ms Kim Yo Jong, was made an alternate member of the politburo - the top decision-making body over which Mr Kim presides, Reuters reported.

REPLACES AUNT

Aside from Mr Kim himself, this makes her the only other millennial member of the influential body.

Her new position indicates the 28-year-old has become a replacement for Mr Kim's aunt, Ms Kim Kyong Hui, who was a key decision maker when former leader Mr Kim Jong Il was alive.

"It shows that her portfolio and writ is far more substantive than previously believed and it is a further consolidation of the Kim family's power," said Mr Michael Madden, a North Korea expert at Johns Hopkins University's 38 North website.

Meanwhile, with North Korea gearing up to mark a major anniversary this week, concern is rising that the regime might celebrate the occasion with another provocation, The Korea Herald reported.

North Korea has not staged major provocations since its launch of an intermediate ballistic missile on Sept 15 and a test of what it said was a hydrogen bomb on Sept 3.

But it could break its hiatus "any time soon", military officials and security analysts here warned yesterday.

"Although there is no imminent indication of provocations, we have noticed movements from some of North Korea's missile facilities and bases.

"As a result, we have maintained heightened surveillance and monitoring of the North," a South Korean military official told the newspaper.

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