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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his nuclear weapons are a "powerful deterrent" that guarantee North Korea's sovereignty, North Korean state media reported on Sunday, hours after US President Donald Trump said "only one thing will work" in dealing with North Korea.

Trump did not clearly state just what he was referring to, but his comments seemed to suggest that he had military action on his mind.

State media reported that, when Kim addressed a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party on Saturday, he had covered the "complicated international situation" and, in referring to the "protracted nuclear threats of the US imperialists," he had noted that North Korea's nuclear weapons are a "powerful deterrent firmly safeguarding the peace and security in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia."

In recent weeks, North Korea has launched two missiles that went over Japan and conducted its sixth nuclear test, and may be fast advancing toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland.

Donald Trump has previously said that the US would "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary to protect itself and its allies.

In a related statement, Kim noted, "The national economy has grown on their strength this year, despite the escalating sanctions," referring to the UN Security Council resolutions put in place to curb Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

The Workers' Party meeting also dealt with some personnel changes. Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, was made an alternate member of the politburo - the top decision-making body, over which Kim Jong-un presides.

Her promotion indicates that the 28-year-old has become a replacement for Kim Jong-un's aunt, Kim Kyong-hee, who had been a key decision-maker when former leader Kim Jong-il was alive.