North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un says his country is ready to defend itself against any foreign aggression with a hydrogen bomb, local media reported.
North Korea is a "powerful nuclear weapons state ready to detonate self-reliant A-bomb and H-bomb to reliably defend its sovereignty," the official KCNA news agency quoted Kim as saying on Thursday.
Kim made the remarks during a visit to the Phyongchon Revolutionary Site in the capital, Pyongyang. The military site is historic as it is home to the country’s first arms firm built in 1945.
"We can further build up our country into a powerful one no enemy dare to provoke," the North’s leader said.
Pyongyang has so far tested three atomic devices that relied on nuclear fission. A hydrogen bomb makes a more powerful explosion as it uses fusion in a chain reaction. North Korea's nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 were with plutonium devices. Its third test in 2013 was believed to have used uranium.
A US-based Institute for Science and International Security said in September that satellite images showed a “hot cell” facility was being constructed at the North’s Yongbyon nuclear site.
The institute also said that it could be an isotope separation facility that can produce tritium, a major component in making hydrogen or thermonuclear weapons.
"Whether North Korea can make nuclear weapons using tritium is unknown, although we believe that it remains a technical problem North Korea still needs to solve. Solving this problem would likely require more underground nuclear tests," the American institute added.
Also in September, Pyongyang said it had restarted its nuclear facilities, adding that the country has the capacity to attack the US mainland any time if the US administration does not stop its “reckless” hostile policies towards North Korea.
Pyongyang is under UN sanctions over the nuclear tests and for launching ballistic missiles considered by the West as ones aimed at delivering nuclear warheads.
This is while the two Koreas are locked in a military stalemate since the end of their 1950-1953 war. No peace deal has been signed ever since, meaning the two countries remain technically at war.