SEOUL, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- North Korea said it has restarted operations at its main nuclear reactor and is ready to use nuclear weapons against the United States at any time.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday Pyongyang is improving its nuclear weapons arsenal "in quality and quantity." The main nuclear complex, Yongbyon, which includes a uranium-enrichment plant and a plutonium-production reactor, is operating normally, North Korean officials said.
"If the U.S. and other hostile forces persistently seek their reckless hostile policy towards the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] and behave mischievously, the DPRK is fully ready to cope with them with nuclear weapons any time," the director of the North Korean Atomic Energy Institute said.
The announcement comes less than a day after Pyongyang said it was ready to launch long-range missiles to mark the ruling communist party's anniversary in October. The 70th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party is Oct. 10.
Earlier this month, 38 North, a respected website devoted to North Korea's activities, said satellite imagery indicates more activity at the radiochemical laboratory at Yongbyon and the 5MW reactor.
The Yongbyon reactor was shut down in 2007 in an international deal with the United States, China, Russia, Japan and the two Koreas. In February 2013, North Korea restarted the facility.