North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be firing threat after threat to keep his army on edge lest they lose interest in battle.

Kim Hyun-Hee, a notorious North Korean spy, said the young leader is still struggling to establish himself out of his father’s shadow and is using war talk to shore up support from the military, reports AFP.

“Kim Jong-un is too young and too inexperienced,” she told Australia’s ABC television network in an exclusive interview from Seoul.

“He’s struggling to gain complete control over the military and to win their loyalty. That’s why he’s doing so many visits to military bases, to firm up support.”

Pyongyang has launched a torrent of belligerent rhetoric in recent weeks and threatened a “thermonuclear war”, stirring up tensions on the Korean peninsula. But Kim Hyun-Hee said it’s all part of the propaganda.

“North Korea is using its nuclear programme to keep its people in line and to push South Korea and the United States for concessions,” said Kim Hyun-Hee, who was arrested in 1987 after planting a time bomb on a South Korean airliner, killing 115 people.

The reclusive state conducted its third nuclear test in February, defying the UN Security Council and global powers. The nuclear test apparently boosted Kim Jong-un’s leadership in North Korea.