North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is "determined" to complete the development of nuclear weapons by the end of 2017, a high-profile North Korean diplomat, who recently defected to South Korea, was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying on 27 December.
Kim is "racing ahead with nuclear development after setting up a plan to develop [nuclear weapons] at all costs by the end of 2017", Thae Yong-ho, formerly No. 2 at the North Korean Embassy in London, said at a press briefing, according to Yonhap. It was his first media appearance since his defection to South Korea in August.
For North Korea, the year 2017 is "an opportune time" when South Korea and the United States will have new presidents, he was quoted as saying.