North Korean leader begins new year with threats against US

North Korea

North Korea

This Nov. 29, 2017, file image provided by the North Korean government on Nov. 30, 2017, shows what the North Korean government calls the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile, at an undisclosed location in North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said today the United States should be aware that his country's nuclear forces are now a reality, not a threat.

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

"The U.S. should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table", Kim said in a speech during his annual New Year address his country, The Associated Press reported Sunday night.

These launches, including a nuclear test - its sixth and largest - in September, led Trump to consider military options for dealing with North Korea.

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

South Koreans watch a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's New Year's speech at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea.

But in a typically aggressive tone, KCNA said Trump should "not expect any change in its policy" heading into 2018. It described North Korea as an "undeniable new strategic state and nuclear power".

"Its entity as an invincible power can neither be undermined nor be stamped out", the article said. "These weapons will be used only if our security is threatened".

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