North Korea has threatened to attack the US with nuclear weapons if the country “forces it to do so”.
Park Yong-Chol, the deputy director of the North Korean think tank the Institute for Research into National Reunification, gave a rare two-hour interview with CNN on Thursday.
The network said it was only allowed to conduct the interview on the basis that two portraits of former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il were visible behind Park during filming.
In it, he escalated Pyongyang's fiery rhetoric by claiming North Korea was nuclear-capable and equipped with long-range missiles he warned could reach mainland US.
“We are equipped with nuclear arsenals,” Park reiterated. “We may use them if we are forced by the US to do so.”
"If you talk about human rights in my country, I will talk about human rights in the United States," he added. "You have racial riots taking place in the wake of the killing of so many black people by the police. You have prisons full of inmates and new techniques of torture being used.
"The US President and other high-ranking administration officials have acknowledged really severe forms of punishment on inmates in detention.”
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