North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his nuclear weapons are a "powerful deterrent" which guarantee North Korea's sovereignty, state media reported on Sunday, hours after US President Donald Trump said "only one thing will work" in dealing with the isolated country.
In a speech to a meeting of the powerful Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party on Saturday, a day before Trump's most recent comments, state media said Kim had addressed the "complicated international situation."
North Korea's nuclear weapons are a "powerful deterrent firmly safeguarding the peace and security in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia," Kim said, referring to the "protracted nuclear threats of the US imperialists."
In recent weeks, North Korea has launched two missiles over Japan and conducted its sixth nuclear test, and may be fast advancing toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland.
North Korea is preparing to test-launch such a missile, a Russian lawmaker who had just returned from a visit to Pyongyang was quoted as saying on Friday.
Donald Trump has previously said the United States would "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary to protect itself and its allies.
The situation proved that North Korea's policy of "byungjin," meaning the parallel development of nuclear weapons and the economy was "absolutely right," Kim Jong Un said in the speech.
"The national economy has grown on their strength this year, despite the escalating sanctions," said Kim, referring to UN Security Council resolutions put in place to curb Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.
"Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid," Trump said in a tweet. "...Hasn't worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, making fools of US negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!"
Trump did not make clear to what he was referring, but his comments seemed to be a further suggestion that military action was on his mind.
Earlier this week, during a meeting with top US military leaders and their spouses, Trump told reporters it was the "calm before the storm." Asked for clarification then on what he meant, Trump said: "You'll find out."
Speaking to reporters on Saturday ahead of a trip to North Carolina, Trump said he had nothing more to clarify.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders referred to Iran and North Korea the following day when asked about Trump's "calm before the storm" comments.
Asked on Saturday about Trump's tweet, Sanders said she had nothing to add to the president's comments.
The Pentagon referred a question for clarification to the White House and said the Defense Department's job was to "present the president military options and carry out orders."
Trump repeatedly has made clear his distaste for dialogue with North Korea. On Sunday he dismissed the idea of talks as a waste of time, a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington was maintaining open lines of communication with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's government.
A Russian lawmaker on Friday was quoted saying North Korea was preparing to test a long-range missile that it believes can reach the west coast of the United States. Anton Morozov, a member of the Russian lower house of parliament's international affairs committee, was part of a Russian delegation that visited Pyongyang from Oct. 2-6, according to Russian RIA news agency.
North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs have driven up tensions in the region and around the world in recent months, particularly after it conducted a test explosion of what it said was a hydrogen bomb.