Sydney - North Korea has at least 100 nuclear missiles aimed at the United States and will use them if new economic sanctions are imposed against it, a propagandist for the Stalinist state claimed on Sunday.
Kim Myong Chol, who styles himself executive director of the Centre for Korea-American Peace, said: "It's quite obvious North Korea may have minimum 100 nuclear warheads, maximum 300. They all lock onto American cities."
Kim, who rejoices in the title "unofficial spokesman for North Korea", was speaking in an interview recorded by Australia's Channel Nine network overseas, although it was unclear in which country.
He said he was flattered the western media had given him that label adding: "The news magazines call me a spin doctor for North Korea and Kim Jong (President Kim Jong-Il). It's an honourable title for me."
Asked if North Korea intended to use the weapons if the United States did not give in to its current demands he replied: "If the US attacks North Korea, North Korea will definitely use those nuclear weapons against the US mainland".
Would it also use them if an economic embargo was imposed?
"Yes, definitely," he said. "North Korea will use those nuclear weapons against the US mainland if America imposes additional economic sanctions on North Korea."
Weapons 'not a breach of international agreements'
He claimed the nuclear technology used to make the missiles had been tested in Pakistan and the weapons had been produced before Pyongyang's non-proliferation agreement made with the former US adminstration in 1994.
They had not, therefore, breached international agreements, he maintained.
Told that Pakistan had denied the claim it was implicated, which he had made previously, Kim said: "Of course they must deny that."
He also rejected a charge by Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer last week that an official of North Korea's ruling political party was aboard a North Korean ship accused of smuggling heroin to Australia.
The freighter, Pong Su, was boarded and seized by Australian special forces troops on April 20 after a chase which began when it allegedly unloaded the heroin off southeastern Australia five days previously.
Some 26 North Korean crew remain in custody charged with helping import 50kg of pure heroin into Australia.
"I'm afraid the Australian Foreign Minister is entirely wrong," Kim said.
"The ship may be a North Korean ship, the strong likelihood is that the ship was simply used by some evil forces to traffic heroin. This doesn't mean the North Korean government was involved here."
He claimed the person on board described by Downer as an official of the Workers Party of Korea was not an official, although he may have been a party member as one in 20 North Koreans are members of the party.
He also maintained that no-one had produced any hard evidence that the North Korean government was involved in the traffic of drugs or narcotics.