North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered his military force to be ready to use the country's nuclear weapons at any moment. According to reports, Kim wants his armed forces to immediately enter pre-emptive mode in case of threats.
The country's Supreme Leader declared the order while observing a military exercise earlier this week which involved the country's new missile launchers. According to the BBC, as part of the exercise, North Korea fired off about six short-range missiles into the sea.
Kim then addressed his troops and told them about the growing threat from the country's international enemies, particularly the U.S. He then noted that once the conflict escalates, North Korea must turn to its nuclear weapons.
"We must always be ready to fire nuclear warheads at any time," he said during the exercise according to KCNA, North Korea's official news agency.
"At an extreme time when the Americans---are urging war and disaster on the other countries and people, the only way to defend our sovereignty and right to live is to bolster our nuclear capability," Kim added.
Despite the leader's statements, experts on the matter believe North Korea does not yet have the capability to launch an all-out nuclear strike. Although the country has already made headlines in the past for its various nuclear tests, the devices used were only miniaturized versions.
Also according to Philip Yun, the executive director of the nuclear disarmament group Ploughshares Fund, North Korea has not yet tested equipping long-range missiles with warheads.
"The threat is here, to me right now, it's a lot of bluster," he said according to CNN. "For them to deliver on a threat, they have to have the intent and they have to have a capability."
"And quite frankly, I don't think they have both," Yun added.
Kim's decision to prepare the country's nuclear capabilities may have been in response to the new sanctions that the country received from the U.N. earlier this week. As noted by the international agency, the North Korea's continued testing of its ballistic missiles and nuclear devices violates its existing sanctions.
Another factor that may have provoked Kim is the upcoming joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea. These drills, which are conducted on a yearly basis, always seem to agitate North Korea.