North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said that he will turn his country into the "world's strongest nuclear power."
According to North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, Kim made the remarks while addressing workers behind the north's latest missile test on Tuesday, adding that Pyongyang "will victoriously advance and leap as the strongest nuclear power and military power in the world."
Tensions have been building on the peninsula following a series of nuclear and missile tests by Pyongyang as well as threats of war and personal insults traded between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader.
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Kim's announcement was made as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered to engage in unconditional talks with the North.
“We can talk about the weather if you want. We can talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table,” he said.
“Then we can begin to lay out a map, a road map, of what we might be willing to work toward,” he added.
He added that he was confident that his government was doing all it can to convince North Korea into nuclear disarmament.
"As I've told people many times, I will continue our diplomatic efforts until the first bomb drops," he said, adding that the US military stands ready to act if necessary.
North Korea has been under a raft of crippling United Nations sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear tests as well as multiple rocket and missile launches.
Pyongyang has firmly defended its military program as a deterrent against the hostile policies of the US and its regional allies, including South Korea and Japan.