Saturday 22 July 2017

Pyongyang says plan to disarm nuclear arsenal 'a wild dream'

A protester near the US embassy in Seoul wears a face mask reading “No THAAD” during a rally against the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea. Photo: Getty Images
A protester near the US embassy in Seoul wears a face mask reading “No THAAD” during a rally against the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea. Photo: Getty Images

Matthew Pennington and Edith Lederer New York

A top North Korea diplomat has warned that US efforts to get rid of his country's nuclear weapons through military threats and sanctions are "a wild dream".

Deputy UN ambassador Kim In Ryong said North Korea's nuclear weapons are never part of "political bargains and economic deals".

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley at the security council meeting on North Korea. Photo: Getty Images
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley at the security council meeting on North Korea. Photo: Getty Images

He said: "In a nutshell, DPRK (North Korea) have already declared not to attend any type of talks which would discuss its nuclear abandonment, nuclear disbandment."

It followed US President Donald Trump's warning that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea was possible over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Mr Kim reiterated North Korea's longstanding contention that its nuclear programme "is the product of the United States' hostile policy towards DPRK".

He said: "That is why every solution will be possible when the United States hostile policy is withdrawn in advance."

Mr Kim "categorically rejected" yesterday's UN Security Council meeting on the North Korean nuclear issue - which his country declined to attend - as "another abuse" of the council's authority, acting on instructions of the United States which is a veto-wielding member.

The United States holds the council presidency this month and organised the ministerial session that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chaired.

Mr Tillerson did not reiterate Mr Trump's fears, but called for new sanctions on North Korea and urged all countries to exert pressure on Pyongyang and implement the six UN sanctions resolutions. He also stressed that the Trump administration will only engage in talks with Pyongyang when it exhibits "a good faith commitment" to implement Security Council resolutions "and their past promises to end their nuclear programmes".

In response, Mr Kim said: "As we expected, (the) US has taken issue with self-defensive nuclear deterrent of the DPRK, and not only to justify their anti- DPRK aggressive war racket but also to create atmosphere for sanctions against DPRK at any cost."

He said the United States "is wholly to blame for pushing the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war.

The United States and China offered starkly different strategies yesterday for addressing North Korea's escalating nuclear threat.

Mr Tillerson proposed a ban on North Korean coal imports and preventing its overseas guest labourers, a critical source of government revenue, from sending money home. And he warned of unilateral US moves against international firms conducting banned business with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing would adhere to past UN resolutions and wants a denuclearised peninsula. But he spelled out no further steps his government might consider. Instead, he put forward a familiar Chinese idea to ease tensions: North Korea suspending its nuclear and missile activities, if the US and South Korea stop military exercises in the region. Washington and its allies reject the idea.

Irish Independent

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