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North Korea warns it won’t negotiate nukes if US is hostile

If the US persists and tests the North’s “self-restraint,” the ambassador said his country will “make a crucial decision as it had already declared.”

world Updated: Aug 18, 2017 08:21 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press
Associated Press, United Nations
Nuclear threats,North Korea,UN Mission
A propaganda poster blaming US and hostile countries' sanction is seen in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang August 17, 2017. The poster reads: "No one can stop our way!" (Reuters Photo)

North Korea warned the United States that it will never put its nuclear weapons program on the negotiating table as long as the Trump administration keeps up its “hostile policy and nuclear threat.”

The warning came from North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador Kim In Ryong in the transcript of his conversation with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday. The transcript was sent to The Associated Press on Thursday by North Korea’s UN Mission.

Guterres’ remarks were not included but the UN chief told reporters Wednesday that he had spoken to the North Koreans and the five other parties in talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear program that have been stalled since 2009.

The secretary-general warned that tensions on the Korean peninsula are at their highest level in decades and said it’s important now “to dial down the rhetoric and to dial up diplomacy.”

Ambassador Kim repeated to the secretary-general the decision by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to hold off on launching missiles into waters near the US territory of Guam.

The North Korean leader “said that the US imperialists put their own necks into the noose through their reckless military confrontation racket, adding that he would watch a little longer the conduct of the foolish and stupid Yankees,” the ambassador told Guterres.

Ambassador Kim reiterated his leader’s demand that the US immediately stop its “arrogant provocation” and its “extremely dangerous actions around the Korean Peninsula,” including deploying “huge nuclear strategic equipment.”

“In order to defuse the tensions and prevent the dangerous military conflict on the Korean Peninsula, it is necessary for the US to make a proper option first and show it in action,” the ambassador said.

President Donald Trump last week declared the US military “locked and loaded” and said he was ready to unleash “fire and fury” if North Korea continued to threaten the United States. The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, said Wednesday the U.S. wants to peacefully resolve tensions with North Korea, but is also ready to use the “full range” of its military capabilities.

If the US persists and tests the North’s “self-restraint,” the ambassador said his country will “make a crucial decision as it had already declared.”

Ambassador Kim accused the United States of instigating the latest UN sanctions against North Korea to “isolate and stifle” the country and completely block its economic development and improve “the people’s livelihood.”

He told Guterres the Security Council resolution, adopted unanimously on August 5, is “more heinous than ever, placing a total ban even on normal trade and economic exchanges” with his country, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The resolution imposes the toughest sanctions yet on North Korea including banning all exports of coal, iron, lead, and fish and seafood products valued at $1 billion — about a third of the country’s total exports.

“As long as the U.S. hostile policy and nuclear threat continue, the DPRK, no matter who may say what, will never place its self-defensive nuclear deterrence on the negotiation table or flinch an inch from the road chosen by itself, the road of bolstering up the state nuclear force,” ambassador Kim said.

First Published: Aug 18, 2017 08:21 IST