North Korea ‘will not give up nuclear weapons unless US removes threat’
North Korea accused Washington of misleading what had been agreed on in Singapore and driving the post-summit talks into an impasse.
North Korea has said it will never unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons unless the United States removes its nuclear threat first.
The statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency came amid a deadlock in nuclear negotiations between the United States and North Korea over the sequencing of the denuclearisation process and removal of international sanctions.
It raises further doubts over whether North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will ever voluntarily relinquish an arsenal he may see as a stronger guarantee of survival than whatever security assurances the United States could provide.
It also suggests that North Korea will demand the United States withdraw or significantly reduce the 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea, which would be a major sticking point to a potential disarmament deal.
Mr Kim and President Donald Trump met on June 12 in Singapore where they issued a vague goal for the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula without describing when and how it would occur.
But North Korea for decades has been pushing a concept of denuclearisation that bears no resemblance to the American definition, vowing to pursue nuclear development until the United States removes its troops and the nuclear umbrella defending South Korea and Japan.
In Thursday’s statement, the North made clear it is sticking to its traditional stance on denuclearisation.
It accused Washington of misleading what had been agreed on in Singapore and driving the post-summit talks into an impasse.
“The United States must now recognise the accurate meaning of the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and especially, must study geography,” the statement said.
“When we talk about the Korean Peninsula, it includes the territory of our republic and also the entire region of (South Korea) where the United States has placed its invasive force, including nuclear weapons.
“When we talk about the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, it means the removal of all sources of nuclear threat, not only from the South and North but also from areas neighbouring the Korean Peninsula,” the statement said.
The United States removed its tactical nuclear weapons from South Korea in the 1990s. Washington and Seoul did not immediately respond to the North Korean statement.