N. Korea will ‘never step back an inch’ from nuclear arms development – diplomat to UN

N. Korea will ‘never step back an inch’ from nuclear arms development – diplomat to UN
A North Korean envoy to a UN disarmament forum has refused to negotiate its nuclear program, accusing the US and South Korea of using joint military drills to carry out “an aggressive war scenario” and “a secret operation” against the North’s leadership.

“The DPRK will never place its self-defense nuclear deterrence on the negotiating table or step back from the  path it took to bolster the national nuclear force,” a North Korean diplomat stated at the UN disarmament forum in Geneva, as cited by Reuters.

The envoy accused the US and its ally in the region, South Korea, of worsening the situation on the Korean Peninsula, saying that the ongoing joint military drills “would certainly add fuel to the fire.”

Pyongyang considers the Ulchi Freedom Guardian maneuvers as “an aggressive war scenario,” targeting North Korea and its leadership, according to the envoy.

“As long as the US hostile policy and nuclear threat remains unchallenged, the DPRK will never place its self-defensive nuclear deterrence on the negotiating table,” Ju Yong-сhol, a North Korean envoy, stated at the UN disarmament forum on Tuesday.

Ju also said that the bolstering of North Korea’s nuclear program “is justifiable and a legitimate option for self-defense in the face of such apparent and real threats.”

The North has repeatedly called on the US to refrain from military exercises which could “ignite a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula at any cost,” according to the North’s state news agency KCNA.

“The situation on the Korean Peninsula has plunged into a critical phase due to the reckless north-targeted war racket of the war maniacs,” KCNA reported on Monday.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang has again threatened to strike the US base in Guam, which it earlier promised to attack if “provoked” by Washington.

READ MORE: US-South Korea drills could lead to ‘uncontrollable phase of nuclear war,’ North warns

“As you know, we have completed the preparation of the Guam strike. Everything will depend on whether the United States acts sensibly or not. If they do not do so, they will be shamed yet again on the Korean Peninsula in front of the whole world,” Jin Jong-hyop, a representative of the North Korean embassy in Russia, told Sputnik.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been rapidly increasing amid American drills in the region and the recent UN Security Council sanctions in response to continuous missile launches by North Korea. Russia has proposed a "double freeze" initiative, suggesting both sides suspend their military activities.

Some 40,000 American and South Korean troops are taking part in the Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills on land, air and sea, along with civilian South Korean government personnel who train their civil defense responses. The exercises kicked off on Monday amid calls to cease tensions, and will run till August 31.