UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea on Tuesday spurned South Korea’s offer of development aid in exchange for giving up its nuclear weapons, saying “this can never, ever, be a political bargaining chip.”
North Korean counselor Sang Beom Lim was speaking in the “right of reply” session at the end of the annual General Assembly speeches, when countries unleash their most outspoken diplomats to counter arguments made by other countries in their high-level speeches.
He spoke a few hours after North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Pak Kil Yon, blamed the “hostile policy” of the United States for continuing tension on the divided Korean Peninsula.
Pak told the U.N. General Assembly the United States is aiming at military domination of Northeast Asia and has designated North Korea as “its first attack target.”
Pak also contended that the United States was abusing the power of the U.N. Security Council, and that a January resolution that tightened sanctions on the North for a long-range rocket launch was unfair.
Pak did not mention the subsequent nuclear test explosion that was also condemned by the council and deepened concern over the North’s weapons programs.
Sang said later, in the “right of reply” session, that North Korea “and its people have been living with nuclear weapons and bombs over their heads for decades.” Under these “provocations” North Korea had no option other than to obtain nuclear weapon itself as a deterrent, he said.
Sang unequivocally rejected a South Korean offer of economic aid conditional on the verifiable nuclear disarmament of North Korea, also known at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK, saying the nuclear umbrella was needed to protect the North from South Korea and the United States.
“This is again provocation against the strategy policy of the DPRK,” he said. “This can never, ever, be a political bargaining chip. This is a policy under the security environment of the DPRK for safeguarding peace and security, and thereby to ensure the environment for peaceful economic development. So this is an absolute guarantee for economic development.”