NEW YORK: North Korea is all set to stop its nuclear tests if the United States (US) appends its yearly military exercises with South Korea, the North Korean foreign minister told The Associated Press in a dialogue in which he also cautioned that his state won’t be intimidated by international sanctions.
“The escalation of this military exercise level has reached its top level. And I think it’s not bad ─ as the other side is going for the climax ─ why not us, too, to that level as well?” he said in his first interview Saturday with a Western news organisation, at the North Korean diplomatic mission to the United Nations (UN).
In reply to the missile firing, the US State Department proclaimed early Sunday it was limiting Ri’s travel to UN functions only.
“Due to the DPRK’s firing of a ballistic missile this morning, we have determined it necessary to limit the travel of the visiting foreign minister and his delegation to only those places necessary for them to conduct their UN functions,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.
Ri held steady to Pyongyang’s old place that the US horde his state to advance nuclear weapons as an act of defence. At the same time, he proposed that appending the military exercises with Seoul could sweeping the gate to discussions and condensed pressures.
“Stop the nuclear war exercises in the Korean Peninsula, then we should also cease our nuclear tests,” he said.
If the exercises are halted “for some period, for some years. New opportunities may arise for the two countries and for the whole entire world as well.” he added
“If we continue on this path of confrontation, this will lead to very catastrophic results, not only for the two countries but for the whole entire world as well,” he said, speaking in Korean through an interpreter.
It is really crucial for the US government to withdraw its hostile policy against the DPRK and as an expression of this, stop the military exercises, war exercises, in the Korean Peninsula. Then we will respond likewise.
In reply to Ri’s remarks, a US State Department official protected the military exercises as signifying the US commitment to its coalition with the South and said they improve the combat willingness, tractability and competences of the coalition.
“We call again on North Korea to refrain from actions and rhetoric that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its international commitments and obligations,” said Katina Adams, a spokeswoman for the State Department’s Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs.
Sanctions, Ri said, won’t sway the North. “If they believe they can actually frustrate us with sanctions, they are totally mistaken,” he said. “The more pressure you put on to something, the more emotionally you react to stand up against it. And this is important for the American policymakers to be aware of.”
In the conference, he specified that the US has used its influence to get other states to join in burden on North Korea.
“A country as small as the DPRK cannot actually be a threat to the US or to the world. How great would it be if the world were to say to the US and the American government not to conduct any more military exercises in the Korean Peninsula… But there is not a single country that says this to the US.” he told the AP.
“These big countries alone or together are telling us that we should calm down. For us this is like a sentence, that we should accept our death and refuse our right to sovereignty.” he said.
Ri said North Korea is not stimulated by the softening of relations between Washington and Cuba or Iran.
“We’re happy for the Cuban people and the Iranian people that they have reached successes on their path to pursuing their own goals and interests,” he said.