EXCLUSIVE: North Korea has no fear of U.S. sanctions move, will pursue nuclear arms - envoy | Reuters
By Stephanie Nebehay | GENEVA GENEVA North Korea has nothing to fear from any U.S. move to broaden sanctions aimed at cutting it off from the global financial system and will pursue 'acceleration' of its nuclear and missile programmes, a Pyongyang envoy told Reuters on Tuesday
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA North Korea has nothing to fear from any U.S. move to broaden sanctions aimed at cutting it off from the global financial system and will pursue "acceleration" of its nuclear and missile programmes, a Pyongyang envoy told Reuters on Tuesday. This includes developing a "pre-emptive first strike capability" and an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), said Choe Myong Nam, deputy ambassador at the DPRK (North Korean) mission to the United Nations in Geneva. Reuters, quoting a senior U.S. official in Washington, reported on Monday that the Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions as part of a broad review of measures to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile threat."I think this is stemming from the visit by the Secretary of State (Rex Tillerson) to Japan, South Korea and China...We of course are not afraid of any act like that," Choe told Reuters."Even prohibition of the international transactions system, the global financial system, this kind of thing is part of their system that will not frighten us or make any difference."He called existing sanctions "heinous and inhumane".
North Korea has been under sanctions for "half a century" but the communist state survives by placing an emphasis on juche or "self-sufficiency", he said. His country wants a forum set up to examine the "legality and legitimacy of the sanctions regime".He denounced joint annual military exercises currently being carried out by the United States and South Korea on the divided peninsula and criticised remarks by Tillerson during his talks with regional allies last week."All he was talking about is for the United States to take military actions on DPRK (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," Choe said.North Korea rejects claims by Washington and Seoul that the military drills are defensive. They involve strategic nuclear bombers and a nuclear submarine Columbus that recently entered South Korean ports, he said.
"In the light of such huge military forces involved in the joint military exercises, we have no other choice but to continue with our full acceleration of the nuclear programmes and missile programmes. It is because of these hostile activities on the part of the United States and South Korea."PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE CAPABILITY
"We strengthen our national defence capability as well as pre-emptive strike capabilities with nuclear forces as a centrepiece," Choe said.
He declined to give technical details of North Korea's latest rocket engine test on Sunday - seen as a possible prelude to a partial ICBM flight - calling it a great historical event that would lead to "fruitful outcomes"."I can tell you for sure that the inter-continental ballistic rockets of the DPRK will be launched at any time and at any place as decided by our Supreme Leadership," Choe said, recalling leader Kim Jong Un's pledge in a New Year's address.Analysts say North Korea has likely mastered the technology to power the different stages of an ICBM and may show it off soon, but is likely still a long way from being able to hit the mainland United States."The United States has been talking about launching pre-emptive strikes at North Korea," Choe said. "And we have been prepared to deter, to counter-attack such attacks on the part of the United States. "We would utilise every possible means in our hands and the inter-continental ballistic rocket is one of them." (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Ralph Boulton)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.