2 Apr 2016

N Korea 'will pursue' nuclear, ballistics program

11:10 am on 2 April 2016

North Korea will pursue its nuclear and ballistic missile program in defiance of the United States and its allies, a top Pyongyang envoy said overnight (NZT).

So Se Pyong, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva at a news conference on the nuclear issue in the Korean penisula in Geneva on July 29, 2015.

So Se Pyong, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva at a news conference on the nuclear issue in the Korean penisula in Geneva on July 29, 2015. Photo: AFP

So Se Pyong, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said a state of "semi-war" now existed on the divided Korean peninsula.

It came as United States President Barack Obama said at a nuclear security summit in Washington the US and China were determined to work towards a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

Mr So denounced the huge joint US-South Korean military exercises taking place which he said were aimed at "decapitation of the supreme leadership of the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]" and conquering Pyongyang.

North Korea conducted a fourth nuclear test in January and launched a long-range rocket in February. A South Korean military spokesperson said yesterday that North Korea had fired a missile into the sea off its east coast.

North Korean TV shows Kim Jong-Un, centre, watching the rocket launch.

North Korean TV shows Kim Jong-Un, centre, watching a rocket launch last month. Photo: AFP / Yonhap / North Korean TV

"If the United States continues, then we have to make the counter-measures also. So we have to develop, and we have to make more deterrence, nuclear deterrence," Mr So told Reuters in English.

He was also North Korea's envoy to the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament.

"Simultaneous policy is the policy of my country, and my party also, meaning nuclear production and economic development," he said, referring to the twin aims of the policy course of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un which was expected to be endorsed at a congress of the ruling Workers' Party in May, the first in 36 years.

Mr So had no information about the latest missile firing or about South Korean allegations that his country was disrupting GPS signal reception which Seoul said had forced some boats to return to port amid heightened tensions.

"They [Seoul] are making too many manipulations, too many false reports," he said.

US President Barack Obama joined South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday in vowing to ramp up pressure on North Korea in response to its nuclear and missile tests.

The three leaders recommitted their countries to each others' defence and warned they could take further steps to counter threats from Pyongyang.

A picture taken from North Korean TV and released by South Korean news agency Yonhap showing North Korea's rocket launch of earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong-4.

A picture taken from North Korean TV and released by South Korean news agency Yonhap showing North Korea's rocket launch of earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong-4. Photo: AFP / North Korean TV via Yonhap

"Actually that summit, we call it ... a kind of propaganda," Mr So said, dismissing the talks on securing vulnerable atomic materials to prevent nuclear terrorism.

'We are going our own way'

Chinese President Xi Jinping also called for dialogue to resolve the "predicament" on the Korean peninsula during a meeting with Mr Park in Washington, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

Asked whether his reclusive country felt pressure from its ally China and other powers, Mr So said "Whether they are going to do anything, we don't care. We are going on our own way.

The Security Council unanimously passed a resolution in early March expanding UN sanctions aimed at starving North Korea of funds for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

"We are going against that resolution also because that is not fair and [unjust]. At this point, because this is really the war now ... We are busy to deal with this semi-war status of the situation on the peninsula now."

Regarding the joint military exercises being conducted by US and South Korean forces, he said that 300,000 troops were taking part.

"Now they open [show] their true colour, meaning the decapitation of the supreme leadership of DPRK."

South Korean army K-55 self-propelled howitzers participate in a live fire drill during the annual South Korea-Us joint maneuvers, known as Foal Eagle, near Rodriguez Range in Pocheon, south of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, on March 15, 2012.

South Korean army in a live fire drill during the annual South Korea-Us joint manoeuvres, known as Foal Eagle. Photo: AFP

Mr So also said denuclearisation of the peninsula was no longer on the table with six-party talks on his country's nuclear programme.

"If the United States stops their hostile policy towards the DPRK and comes to the peace treaty, then something [might be] different," he said.

-Reuters

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