A defiant North Korea on September 23 vowed to strengthen its nuclear capabilities despite UN sanctions and Security Council resolutions, with the reclusive nation's foreign minister saying that his country can only defend itself by "going nuclear."
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said in his address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York that his nation's nuclear weapons are "a righteous self-defense measure" against "constant nuclear threats of the United States."
"Going nuclear-armed is the policy of our state," he said. "As long as there exists a nuclear-weapon state in hostile relations with [North Korea], our national security and peace on the Korean Peninsula can be defended only with reliable nuclear deterrence," he said.
His address came on the same day that the UN Security Council approved a resolution calling for the quick implementation of a treaty that would ban the testing of weapons worldwide.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry cited North Korea's latest nuclear explosion as a "reckless act of provocation" as he urged the global adoption of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty.
More than 160 countries have ratified the treaty, but the United States is among the holdouts that include China, Egypt, North Korea, India, Iran, Israel, and Pakistan.
U.S. President Barack Obama's administration says it supports ratifying the treaty. But numerous U.S. lawmakers -- Republicans in particular -- have opposed such a move, saying it would restrict the country's national security options.