North Korea will strengthen its nuclear arsenal and not abandon its deterrent to ward off the threats from the US, Vice-Foreign Minister Pak Kil Yon has said.

“As long as the US nuclear aircraft carriers sail around the seas of our country, our nuclear deterrent can never be abandoned, and should be strengthened further. This is the lesson we have drawn,” he said.

“As already clarified, our nuclear weapons are not a means to attack or threaten others, but a self-defensive deterrent, to all intents and purposes, to counter aggression and attack from outside.”

North Korea signed a commitment towards a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, along with the US, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan in 2005, but it withdrew from the talks in 2008, according to Agence France Presse.