North Korea says it can launch a nuclear missile ‘anytime and anywhere’

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North Korea leader Kim Jong Un smiles as he visits Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Pyongan province for the testing of a new engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 9, 2016. KCNA via Reuters

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un smiles as he visits Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Pyongan province for the testing of a new engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 9, 2016. KCNA via Reuters

North Korea now has the capability to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from anywhere in the country, according to a statement released by a Foreign Ministry spokesman on Sunday.

“The ICBM will be launched anytime and anywhere determined by the supreme headquarters of the DPRK,” the statement read, referencing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name.

The statement, reported by Reuters and posted to the state-controlled media site Korean Central News Agency, also cast blame on the U.S. for an escalation in the country’s arms development, and comes a week after the country’s leader Kim Jong Un said North Korea had “reached the final stage” of preparing a test launch of an ICBM.

“The political and military position of socialism should be further cemented as an invincible fortress,” Kim reportedly said during a Jan. 1 address. “We should resolutely smash the enemies’ despicable and vicious moves to dampen the pure and ardent desire of the people for the party and estrange the people from it.”

A fire drill of ballistic rockets by Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force is pictured in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 6, 2016. Photo By KCNA via Reuters

A fire drill of ballistic rockets by Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force is pictured in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 6, 2016. Photo By KCNA via Reuters

With an uptick in nuclear tests in 2016, U.S. officials said Thursday that North Korea has advanced its ballistic missile capacity but does not have the ability to use nuclear warheads on them. Some experts believe the missiles will not be fully functional this year, though the country may eventually develop the capacity that would allow them to reach the U.S. mainland.

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