North Korean No. 1 Kim Jong Un has called for increasing the production of "military nuclear material" and making more powerful weapons, state media reported Tuesday (March 28th).

This latest threat from the North Korean leader, who repeats an earlier promise to increase the production of nuclear weapons "exponentially", comes just before the scheduled arrival of a US Navy aircraft carrier in South Korea on Tuesday.

After talks with officials from the country's nuclear weapons institute, the leader said North Korea should prepare to use its nuclear weapons "anywhere and anytime," according to the official KCNA news agency.

He also called on officials to "develop the long-term production of military nuclear material in order to thoroughly implement the plan (...) of exponential increase in nuclear arsenals". Kim also "encouraged the continued production of powerful nuclear weapons," KCNA added.

"The enemy will fear us"

When North Korea has prepared "perfectly" its nuclear weapons systems, "the enemy will fear us and will not dare to provoke the sovereignty of our state, our system and our people," Kim Jong Un said.

Last year, North Korea declared itself an "irreversible" nuclear power and Kim Jong Un recently called for an "exponential" increase in weapons production, including tactical nuclear weapons.

In early March, he also ordered his army to intensify its military maneuvers in preparation for a "real war".

Second test of an "underwater nuclear attack drone"

The North Korean military claimed Tuesday to have conducted a second test of what it described as an "underwater nuclear attack drone," the first test of which took place last week.

The new weapon, called Haeil — which means tsunami in Korean — has been tested, according to Pyongyang, in response to recent U.S.-South Korean military exercises, the largest in five years.

It maneuvered underwater "for 41 hours and 27 minutes following a simulated route of 600 kilometers" before exploding on a target off North Hamgyong province early Monday, KCNA said.

The test "demonstrated all strategic qualifications as well as the safety and reliability of the weapon system," according to KCNA.

Russia has reportedly developed a similar weapon, the Poseidon nuclear torpedo, but mastering the complex technology required for this type of weaponry may still be beyond North Korea's reach, experts say.

The North Korean military also conducted a firing drill on Monday, simulating a nuclear attack using tactical ballistic missiles, KCNA said in a separate statement.

With AFP

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