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SEOUL, January 8. /TASS/. The leadership of North Korea has set a goal to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead by late 2017-early 2018, Yonhap agency reported citing a former North Korean diplomat who worked in London and fled to South Korea.
"North Korea, taking into account the political changes in the United States and South Korea, has set a target by the end of 2017 or early 2018 to develop small sized nuclear warheads that can be mounted on a missile capable of reaching the United States," he said as quoted by the agency.
In its turn, North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on January 5 that the preparation to the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile in North Korea is on the final stage.
In his New Year message to the nation, republic leader Kim Jong-un said that "North Korea will be strengthening its military potential, if the US does not stop the aggressive policy." He reaffirmed the leadership’s commitment to the idea of "simultaneous development of the economy and strengthening of nuclear deterrence potential." In his speech, Kim Jong-un called North Korea "the nuclear power in the East."
UN Security Council resolutions ban North Korea from testing ballistic missiles. Pyongyang does not recognize these documents on the grounds that the country has every right to strengthen the defense potential because of Washington's hostile policy.