The successful completion of the Ryomyong Street residential complex is "scarier than the explosion of hundreds of nuclear bombs," said North Korea's premier Pak Pong-yu.
North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, with three of them coming in the last four years. So when officials told foreign journalists to be prepared for something "big" this week, there was wide speculation that a sixth test was on its way.
There was no test, nor was there a missile launch. This time the big event was the inauguration of a residential complex, its successful completion, as North Korean officials said, "scarier" than nuclear bombs.
The Ryomyong Street residential complex in the capital Pyongyang was unveiled on Thursday in a ceremony to mark North Korea's biggest national day, the "Day of the Sun".
State-run television KRT aired pictures of the skyscraper-lined street as North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un visited the area accompanied by his closest aides, Choe Ryong Hae and Hwang Pyong So.
The country's premier Pak Pong-yu said the successful completion of the new residential complex is "scarier than the explosion of hundreds of nuclear bombs above the enemies' heads."
"The construction of Ryomyong Street is a significant great event, which shows the single-hearted unity of our party and the people, as well as the development potential of socialist Korea," he said.
Tensions in Korean peninsula
With a US aircraft carrier group steaming to the area, tensions on the Korean peninsula have increased this week.
On Tuesday, North Korea warned of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression. The North is technically at war with the United States and South Korea after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce and not a peace treaty.
South Korea said on Thursday it believed it would be consulted by the United States before any possible preemptive US strike against Pyongyang.
North Korea's biggest ally, China, warned that military action would be disastrous for the region and also urged Pyongyang to halt its nuclear program in exchange for greater protection from Beijing.
A Washington-based think tank that monitors North Korea, 38 North, said satellite images showed activity around the North's Punggye-ri nuclear test site on the east coast that indicated it was ready for a new test.
South Korean officials said there were no new signs to indicate a test was more likely, although they also said the North appeared ready to conduct a test at any time.