Kim Yong-Chun
North Korea's military chief has vowed to steadily bolster the Stalinist nation's nuclear deterrent to counter hostile moves by the United States.

Vice Marshal Kim Yong-Chun, chief of the general staff of the Korean People's Army, said in a message of warning aimed at the United States Sunday that the North would not remain passive in the face of any American moves to stifle and isolate the communist regime.

The vice marshal's words, published by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, came in a speech to a national meeting on the eve of the 73rd anniversary of the founding of North Korea's armed forces.

Pyongyang announced on February 10 that it does have nuclear weapons, but the claim has not been independently verified. The North is not known to have carried out a weapons test.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.