NORTH KOREA ‘UN­DER NO CIR­CUM­STANCES’ WILL GIVE UP ITS NU­CLEAR WEAPONS

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North Korea on Mon­day spurned over­tures from South Korea and the United States, and in­stead lobbed a new in­flam­ma­tory threat to re­tal­i­ate against the United States over new U.N. sanc­tions pun­ish­ing Py­ongyang for its mis­sile and nu­clear tests. In a speech at the ASEAN Re­gional Fo­rum, North Korea’s For­eign Min­is­ter Ri Yong Ho said that “un­der no cir­cum­stances” would it ne­go­ti­ate away its nu­clear weapons, ac­cord­ing to a tran­script. The fo­rum was closed to the press, so it could not be de­ter­mined whether the speech was ac­tu­ally de­liv­ered as pre­pared and la­beled on a six-page copy given to re­porters. In the printed ver­sion of the speech, Ri said that the en­tire U.S. main­land is within fir­ing range of the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea, which is North Korea’s of­fi­cial name. He said Py­ongyang would use nu­clear weapons only against the United States or any other coun­try that might join it in mil­i­tary ac­tion against North Korea. And he dis­missed stiff U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil sanc­tions passed Sat­ur­day as il­le­gal. “We will, un­der no cir­cum­stances, put the nukes and bal­lis­tic rock­ets on (the) ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble,” he said. “Nei­ther shall we flinch even an inch from the road to bol­ster­ing up the nu­clear forces cho­sen by our­selves, un­less the hos­tile pol­icy and nu­clear threat of the U.S. against the D.P.R.K. are fun­da­men­tally elim­i­nated.” To paint the United States as the global threat much of the world con­sid­ers his own coun­try to be, Ri point­edly men­tioned the atomic bombs that the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Na­gasaki in World War II, and cast North Korea’s nu­clear pro­gram as self-de­fen­sive in na­ture. “Since the emer­gence of nu­clear weapons in the world, it has been proved through­out his­tory that nukes can de­ter war,” he de­clared. Ri’s re­marks went un­heard by Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son, who left the con­fer­ence of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions early to at­tend a sched­uled meet­ing with Philip­pines Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte.

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