North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations on Monday warned that the situation in the Korean Peninsula had “reached the touch-and-go point, and a nuclear war may break out any moment”, The Guardian reported.

“The entire US mainland is within our firing range, and if the US dares to invade our sacred territory even an inch it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe,” Kim In-ryong told the UN General Assembly’s Disarmament Committee.

He said Pyongyang had been subjected to “extreme and direct nuclear threat” from the United States since the 1970s, and that said the country had the right to own nuclear weapons in self-defence.

Tensions between the US and North Korea have been escalating since Pyongyang testes several missiles this year. In September, North Korea had said it wanted its military to be at par with that of the US and claimed that they had nearly reached their goal of completing their nuclear programme.

Kim’s statement comes a day after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US will continue with its diplomatic efforts to try to resolve the crisis in the Korean Peninsula “till first bomb drops”.