North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador has warned that the situation “has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment”.
He also pledged yesterday (Monday, October 16) that if countries did not join the US in military action they would be safe from retaliation.
Kim In Ryong told the UN General Assembly’s disarmament committee that North Korea has been subjected to “an extreme and direct nuclear threat” from the US since the 1970s. For this reason, he said, the country had the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defence.
He pointed to annual military exercises using “nuclear assets” and claimed the US planned to stage a “secret operation aimed at the removal of our supreme leadership”.
North Korea, he added, had become a “full-fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges, including the atomic bomb, H-bomb and intercontinental ballistic rockets”.
“As long as one does not take part in the US military actions against the DPRK [North Korea], we have no intention to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any other country,” he said.
“The entire US mainland is within our firing range and if the US dares to invade our sacred territory even an inch it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe.”
His words come amid escalating threats between North Korea and the US, and increasingly tough UN sanctions.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday that diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the North Korean crisis “will continue until the first bomb drops”.
This commitment to diplomacy came despite President Trump’s tweets several weeks ago that Tillerson was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with Kim Jong Un, or “Little Rocket Man” as he called him.
Deputy UN ambassador Kim called his country’s nuclear and missile arsenal “a precious strategic asset that cannot be reversed or bartered for anything”.
“Unless the hostile policy and the nuclear threat of the US is thoroughly eradicated, we will never put our nuclear weapons and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table under any circumstances,” he said.
He told the disarmament committee that North Korea had hoped for a nuclear-free world.
Instead all nuclear states were accelerating the modernisation of their weapons and “reviving a nuclear arms race reminiscent of (the) Cold War era”.
He also pointed out that the nuclear weapon states, including the US, boycotted negotiations for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that was approved in July by 122 countries.
“The DPRK [North Korea] consistently supports the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the efforts for denuclearisation of the entire world,” he said.