PYONGYANG --- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Sunday that it will launch an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) "anytime and anywhere" determined by the country's supreme headquarters.
"The U.S. is wholly to blame for pushing the DPRK to have developed ICBM as it has desperately resorted to anachronistic policy hostile toward the DPRK to encroach upon its sovereignty and vital rights," the official KCNA news agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.
The unnamed spokesman said that Pyongyang's ICBM program is part of the efforts to bolster its self-defense capability so as to cope with ever growing nuclear war threat from the United States.
The spokesman echoed remarks made by top leader Kim Jong Un in his New Year address that the DPRK will continue to step up self-defense capabilities, the pivot of which is nuclear forces, as long as the U.S. nuclear threat continues and as long as the war games conducted by the United States and its "vassal forces" around the Korean Peninsula are not stopped.
Kim also said that the DPRK is now at the final stage of test-launching an inter-continental ballistic missile.
On Thursday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said qualitative improvement was observed in the DPRK's nuclear and missile capabilities last year. He called for sustained and comprehensive pressure on the DPRK to curb those programs.
Last year, the DPRK had conducted two nuclear tests and several missile tests, including a long-range rocket. The UN Security Council adopted two new resolutions to tighten sanctions on the DPRK in response to its nuclear and missile programs.