North Korea had hoped for a nuclear-free world, the country's deputy United Nations ambassador claimed Monday—but because of the "extreme" threat from the US, the country has been forced to become a "full-fledged" nuclear power. Kim In Ryong, speaking to the UN's disarmament committee, warned that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is now so tense that "a nuclear war may break out any moment," the AP reports. "The entire US mainland is within our firing range, and if the US dares to invade our sacred territory even an inch, it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe," said Kim, who warned that North Korea "possesses the delivery means of various ranges, including the atomic bomb, H-bomb, and intercontinental ballistic rockets."
Kim said that until the "nuclear threat of the US is thoroughly eradicated," Pyongyang "will never put our nuclear weapons and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table under any circumstances." A day earlier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that despite North Korean threats, "diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops." A North Korean official tells CNN that Pyongyang hasn't completely ruled out diplomacy—but before entering talks, it wants to perfect a long-range intercontinental missile capable of reaching the US East Coast. Sanctions, meanwhile, are still tightening: Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Moscow is cutting ties to North Korea to comply with new UN sanctions. (President Trump might visit the DMZ on his Asia trip next month.)