Pyongyang on Wednesday carried out its fourth nuclear test, angering the international community and raising tensions with neighbouring South Korea.

The test was ''a self-defensive step for reliably defending the peace on the Korean Peninsula and the regional security from the danger of nuclear war caused by the US-led imperialists," Kim was quoted as saying.

The North regularly accuses US and its ally South Korea of warmongering. Kim's comments came during a visit to the Ministry of People's Armed Forces to congratulate them on the 'successful' detonation, KCNA said, without giving the date of the visit.

They echo an official commentary published late Friday, which cited toppled leaders Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya as examples of what happens when countries forsake their nuclear ambitions.

The test has angered world powers, including the North's key ally China, and the UN Security Council has said it will roll out new measures to punish the maverick state.

South Korea has resumed high-decibel propaganda broadcasts across the border in response, which the North said were driving the divided peninsula to 'the brink of war'.

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