FILE PHOTO-A North Korean flag flutters at the propaganda village of Gijungdong in North Korea, in this picture taken near the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, South Korea, July 19, 2022. REUTERS
By Hyonhee Shin
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s position as a nuclear weapons state will remain undeniable and it will continue to build its forces until military threats from the United States and its allies are eliminated, state media KCNA said on Friday.
The quoted remarks by North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui came in a statement criticising the United States and other Group of Seven countries. The G7 foreign ministers condemned the North’s April 13 test of what Pyongyang said was a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile and urged denuclearisation at the end of their meeting in Japan on Tuesday.
Tension has flared in recent weeks as North Korea has ramped up military activities, and threatened “more practical and offensive” action as U.S. and South Korean forces conduct annual springtime military exercises.
North Korea has been reacting furiously to those exercises, calling them a rehearsal for “an all-out, nuclear war.”
Choe said North Korea’s status as a nuclear power is “final and irreversible,” and will remain an “undeniable and stark reality” even if Washington and others in the West deny it.
Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons is only intended to guard against U.S. threats, she said, urging Washington to drop its “hostile policy” against the North to ensure its own security.
“It is anachronistic to think that the right to and capability for nuclear strike is exclusive to Washington,” KCNA quoted her as saying. “We will never seek any recognition or approval from anyone, as we are satisfied with our access to the strength for a tit-for-tat strike against the U.S. nuclear threat.”
Choe accused the G7 countries of illegally interfering in North Korea’s internal affairs by demanding denuclearisation, saying Pyongyang would respond if they attempt to violate its sovereignty and fundamental interests.
“We will continue to take action measures based on all legal rights granted to a sovereign state until the military threat posed by the U.S. and its allied forces hostile toward us is completely removed,” Choe said.
Seoul’s unification ministry handling inter-Korean affairs denounced the North’s statement as “far-fetched,” urging it to stop making threats and developing unlawful weapons programmes.
“North Korea will never get what it wants through nuclear and missile development, and it will only become more isolated from the international community,” ministry deputy spokesperson Lee Hyo-jung told a briefing.