The US desire to tighten sanctions against North Korea is forcing it to increase its military power and nuclear capabilities, said Kim Un Chol, vice-minister for US affairs of the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Report informs referring to Interfax.

“Clearly speaking, if the US introduces a new version of sanctions against the DPRK, the latter will take a new opportunity necessary for its upward readjustment of force which the US is most afraid of,” he said in a statement released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“It was just due to the US nuclear threat that the DPRK decided to have access to nukes, and it was also due to the former’s ceaseless hostile policy and sanctions and pressure that the latter could rank itself among the world’s nuclear powers by running straight ahead,” the vice-minister emphasized.

The statement coincides with the expiration on April 30 of the mandate of the group of experts monitoring compliance with UN sanctions against North Korea. In March, the Organization’s Security Council rejected a draft resolution to extend the group’s mandate for a year; Washington expressed dissatisfaction with this.