North Korea will continue to develop its nuclear program — seeking even stronger weapons — as long as the regime remains subject to a U.S.-led effort to heap pressure on it, a former professional wrestler turned Diet member quoted a high-ranking official from the isolated country as saying during a recent visit.

Lawmaker Antonio Inoki said upon his return to Tokyo from Pyongyang on Monday night that he met with Ri Su Yong, a vice chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea.

"He told me Pyongyang will continue its nuclear testing and take it to a higher level unless the global community, especially the U.S., stops applying pressure," Inoki said upon his return to Haneda airport, where he was sporting his trademark red necktie and scarf.