North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong says the Korean Peninsula is a "nuclear powder keg" and that Pyongyang has the power to deter an "increasing" U.S. nuclear threat.
Ri said in a rare speech to the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament on March 3 that ongoing joint military exercises by South Korea and the United States are "unprecedentedly provocative in nature and have an especially high possibility of sparking a war."
He added that North Korea must "bolster its nuclear deterrent capability to cope with the ever-increasing nuclear threat of the United States."
Ri told the Geneva forum that Pyongyang has the power to deter the United States and could conduct a preemptive strike against U.S. forces if necessary.
He said North Korea would undertake great efforts to bring "great change in inter-Korean relations this year."