North Korean ambassador talks tough on nuclear program, Trump & US intervention
"In regards to the sixth nuclear test, I do not know the scheduled time for it, as I am here in the UK, not in my home country," Choe said in an interview with Sky News.
"However, I can say that the nuclear test will be conducted at the place and time as decided by our supreme leader, Kim Jong-un,” he added.
Tensions around the Korean Peninsula are escalating as the Japanese, South Korean and US fleets all conduct naval drills in the region.
China has adopted a tougher stance with its regional ally with the threat of additional international sanctions a possibility, especially after the recent detention of a US citizen.
When asked about the increasing prospect of US military intervention or even the potential for a preemptive strike against North Korea, ambassador Choe pulled no punches.
"The US cannot attack us first… If the US moves an inch, then we are ready to turn to ashes any available strategic assets of the US," he said.
"If we were afraid of it, we probably would not have started conducting nuclear tests or launching ballistic missiles," the ambassador added.
When asked whether he felt the nation’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons was inflicting unnecessary suffering on its citizens, Choe again resorted to preprogrammed responses.
"Our nuclear power is our sovereign right. It is the only way to protect the peace of the Korean Peninsula and the region."
The ambassador shrugged off the threat of a new round of sanctions saying his country had already endured them for sixty years.
"I do not think our nuclear development has made our people's lives difficult. Our nuclear power is a result of the US hostile policy against us," the ambassador said.
He questioned both the authority of the United Nations and the legality of sanctions placed on North Korea by the international community.
"The UN Security Council has been sanctioning against us whenever we launch missiles or satellites and carry out nuclear tests," he said.
"As the sanctions do not have any legal grounds, we do not care about them, nor accept them."
Choe did not waste the opportunity to attack Donald Trump and deride US foreign policy.
"As you have read on newspapers, the US has been attacking only the weak countries, including Afghanistan and Libya," he said.
"They cannot actually attack the strong countries, although they talk about it.”
"We have to have nuclear power. We have shown our strong military power and nuclear power this April. Because of our strong military power, the US could not attack us first."
At a time when defections are commonplace and former North Korean propagandists have turned to satirizing the dictatorship, Choe highlights that uncompromising loyalty to the Supreme Leader still persists in spite of rolling power outages, recurring famines and the near total absence of hope under the communist regime.
The status of Choe’s predecessor, former ambassador Hyon Hak-bong, is unknown following the defection of his deputy in 2016 but activists fear that he has been interned at a North Korean prison camp.