North Korean leader: Nukes need to be ready 'for use at any time'

North Korean leader: Nukes need to be ready 'for use at any time'
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that the country's "nuclear warheads need to be ready for use at any time," according to the country's state news agency.

"Under the extreme situation that the U.S. Imperialist is misusing its military influence and is pressuring other countries and people to start war and catastrophe, the only way for our people to protect sovereignty and rights to live is to strengthen the quality and quantity of nuclear power and realize the balance of power," KCNA quoted Kim as saying, according to CNN. 

The state news report also said it had confirmed North Korea's launch of "short-range projectiles" a day earlier.  

North Korea has tested long-range missiles and conducted nuclear tests in violation of international law, prompting the U.S. Congress and the United Nations Security Council to impose new international sanctions on North Korea. 

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerRepublicans interested in Romney leading NRSC: report Overnight Finance: Mnuchin promises new Russia sanctions after uproar | Dow drops ahead of Trump State of the Union | GOP senators call on Trump to protect NAFTA | Regulators subpoena major bitcoin exchange Senate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA MORE (R-Colo.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the new launches North Korea's "latest stunt."

“North Korea’s rocket launch comes at the heels of the U.N. Security Council’s approval of its toughest sanctions against the regime in two decades, and that’s no coincidence,” he said in a statement. 

"The Forgotten Maniac’s latest stunt is further evidence that our friends and allies around the world must join the United States in ratcheting up pressure to address North Korea’s aggression," said Gardner, who introduced a bill to sanction North Korea.