North Korea: No negotiations with 'hostile' United States

North Korea makes clear it will never negotiate the dismantling of its nuclear weapons until the United States reverses its policy.

Elad Benari,

North Korean flag
North Korean flag

North Korea on Monday made clear that it will never negotiate the dismantling of its nuclear weapons unless the United States reverses its "hostile" policy.

The country's deputy UN Ambassador, Kim In Ryong, told the General Assembly's committee on disarmament that the situation on the Korean peninsula "has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment."

"Unless the hostile policy and the nuclear threat of the U.S. is thoroughly eradicated, we will never put our nuclear weapons and ballistic rockets on the negotiation table under any circumstance," he said, according to comments quoted by the AFP news agency.

Kim's comments come a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that he would continue his diplomatic efforts vis-a-vis North Korea “until the first bomb drops.”

In an interview with CNN, Tillerson said that, despite Trump's recent tweets which appeared to indicate he was uninterested in speaking with North Korea, the president wanted to avoid war and preferred diplomacy.

Following a series of missile launches and a sixth nuclear test, the North Korean envoy said Monday his country "had passed the final gate" toward becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, with the means to deliver a nuclear strike.

"The entire U.S. 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," said the North Korean diplomat, according to AFP.

The United States and South Korea on Monday began a 10-day joint naval exercise in a fresh show of force against the North.

Kim said North Korea will not target any country that does not join a U.S.-led military campaign.

"As long as one does not take part in the US military actions against the DPRK, we have no intention to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any other country," he said.

Just last week, North Korea's Foreign Minister, Ri Yong Ho, threatened the United Stateswith “a hail of fire” and said Trump has "lit the wick of war" with his country.

North Korea is preparing to test a long-range missile which it believes can reach the west coast of the United States, according to a Russian lawmaker who returned from a visit to Pyongyang earlier this month.

South Korean intelligence officials and analysts have said that North Korea might time its next provocation to coincide with China's all-important Communist Party Congress which begins on Wednesday.