18 November 2017
By Chidiebere Ejike
As part of the ongoing nuclear standoff, North Korea, on Friday, ruled out negotiations with Washington as long as joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises continue. Pyongyang is insisting that its atomic weapons programme would remain as a deterrent against a U.S. nuclear threat.
The North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nation’s Conference on Disarmament, Han Tae Song, in an interview with Reuters, in Geneva, brushed off the new sanctions which the Trump administration has said it is preparing, as well as the possibility of North Korea being added to a US list of states sponsoring terrorism.
Han noted that South Korea and the United States agreed on Friday to keep working for a peaceful end to the North Korean nuclear crisis, but a US envoy said it was difficult to gauge the reclusive North Korea’s intentions as there has been “no signal”.
When asked about those bilateral talks in Seoul, Han replied, “As long as there is continuous hostile policy against my country by the US and as long as there are continued war games at our doorstep, then there will not be negotiations.
“There are continued military exercises using nuclear assets as well as aircraft carriers, and strategic bombers and then…raising such kinds of military exercises against my country.”
Han added that he had no information on when North Korea might test a ballistic missile again, after the last one two months ago.
Hear him, “The DPRK, my country, will continue to build-up its self-defence capability, the pivot of which is nuclear forces and capability for a triumphant… strike as long as US and hostile forces keep up nuclear threat and blackmail. Our country plans ultimate completion of the nuclear force.”
Meanwhile, China, on Thursday, said that a “dual suspension” proposal to handle North Korea was still the best option, after US President, Donald Trump said he and Chinese President, Xi Jinping had rejected a “freeze for freeze” agreement.
Han, when asked about China’s latest appeal for a freeze, said “the situation is far from those things” noting that US administrations had “never accepted” halting joint military exercises.
He also said that North Korea could not consider abandoning its nuclear programme. “This is the deterrent, the nuclear deterrent to cope with the nuclear threat from America,” he said.
The North Korea ambassador said that Trump was expected to announce further sanctions against North Korea. Existing sanctions have constituted “large-scale human rights violations” that had delayed delivery of aid and consumer goods, he said.
In his words, “It is obvious that the aim of the sanctions is to overthrow the system of my country by isolating and stifling it and to intentionally bring about humanitarian disaster instead of preventing weapons development as claimed by the US and its followers.”
When asked whether new US sanctions were expected against North Korean individuals or financial structures, Han said, “The media is saying the Americans and Trump are considering such things.
“But that is their business and then we don’t mind what they want to do against my country since the aim is quite clear.
“So we are ready for such kinds of measures taken by America against my country.”