North Korea on Saturday said it wanted its military to be at par with that of the United States. “Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make US rulers dare not talk about the military option,” North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency quoted the country’s leader Kim Jong-un as saying.

The North Korean leader made the statement after the country launched another missile over Japan on Friday. “The combat efficiency and reliability of the Hwasong-12 [missile] were thoroughly verified,” Kim Jong-un said, adding that Pyongyang’s goal of completing its nuclear armoury had “nearly reached its terminal”.

Referring to the US and the United Nations, he said the country must show the “big power chauvinists” that it could continue with its nuclear programme despite “limitless sanctions and blockades”.

The missile North Korea fired on Friday flew over Japan before landing in the Pacific Ocean. The test came a day after Pyongyang threatened to “reduce the United States to ashes and darkness” and “sink Japan into the sea” using nuclear weapons.

The test was condemned by White House National Security Advisor HR McMaster, reported Reuters. “For those who have been commenting on a lack of a military option, there is a military option,” he said, though he clarified that a military strike on North Korea would not be the Donald Trump administration’s first choice.