By Josh Smith
SEOUL, Nov 27 (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country's ultimate goal is to possess the world's most powerful nuclear force, as he promoted dozens of military officers involved in the recent launch of North Korea's largest ballistic missile, state media reported on Sunday.
The announcement comes after Kim inspected a test of the country's new Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and pledged to counter U.S. nuclear threats with nuclear weapons on Friday.
Building the nuclear force is for reliably protecting the dignity and sovereignty of the state and the people, and "its ultimate goal is to possess the world's most powerful strategic force, the absolute force unprecedented in the century," Kim said in the order promoting the officers.
He called the Hwasong-17 the "world's strongest strategic weapon" and said it demonstrated North Korea's resolve and ability to eventually build the world's strongest army.
North Korean scientists have made a "wonderful leap forward in the development of the technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles," Kim said, without elaborating. (Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Leslie Adler)