The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Monday, August 7, told the international community that it has no plans to use nuclear weapons against other countries apart from the United States.
North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho made the assurance during the 24th Asean Regional Forum (ARF), which was held in Manila, Philippines.
Ri said that Pyongyang would “teach the US a severe lesson” if it used military force against North Korea.
The foreign minister, however, warned that it will also go offensive against countries who will participate in Washington’s military actions against Pyongyang.
“We have no intention to use nuclear weapons or threaten with nuclear weapons against any other country except the US, unless it joins military action of the US against the DPRK,” Ri said in a statement released to reporters.
He also maintained that DPRK “will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table.”
“Neither shall we flinch even an inch from the road to bolstering up the nuclear forces chosen by ourselves, unless the hostile policy and the nuclear threat of the U.S. against the DPRK are fundamentally eliminated,” he added.
The foreign minister noted that North Korea’s “possession of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles is a legitimate option for self-defense in the face of a clear and real nuclear threat posed by the U.S.”
He further criticized Washington for “trying to internationalize the nuclear issue” when the threat is only confined to U.S.
“The US is trying to internationalize the nuclear issue of the Korean peninsula by abusing the UN (United Nations) while clamoring that the DPRK’s possession of nuclear weapons is a ‘global threat.’” Ri claimed.
Over the weekend, UN announced that it is backing a US-drafted resolution strengthening sanctions on North Korea.
Ri went on to say, “It is an unreserved expression of the ‘America First’ policy to hide its responsibility for and the essence of the issue which is thoroughly a matter between the DPRK and the US and to satisfy its own interest at the expense of others.”
Days earlier, the ASEAN foreign ministers released a statement reiterating the membering states’ grave concern over the rising tension in the Korean Peninsula, as well as the call for denuclearization in the area.
“We reiterate our support for the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner, call for the exercise of self-restraint and underscore the importance of creating conditions conducive for dialogue to de-escalate tensions,” the ASEAN said in a joint statement on Saturday, August 5.
The regional bloc also “strongly call” on the DPRK, as a participant of the ARF, “to positively contribute” in maintaining the Asia-Pacific as “a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity.”
Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who is chair of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Manila, presented ASEAN’s sentiments to DPRK’s top diplomat before the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers Meeting on Monday.
“The statement was not borne out of lost friendship but is because of frustration that there seems to be no opening for discussions or dialogue to address the impasse on the issues in the Korean Peninsula,” Cayetano told Ri, according to a statement released by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.
Cayetano, likewise, affirmed ASEAN’s commitment to engage Pyongyang during the ARF.
“However, there is a sentiment across ASEAN that for this engagement to be truly productive and beneficial not just to ASEAN but to our region and the world, we need to ensure that there is a mutual openness and communication amongst us,” he added.
Ri, in turn, thanked his counterpart for conveying the sentiments of his fellow ASEAN ministers, adding that he understood their position. (Dana Sioson/AJPress)