In what could be a major development in the growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, North Korea could end nuclear tests, on one condition.
In a rare Western media interview at the UN in New York, the North Korean foreign minister offered to stop its increasing nuclear ambitions if the U.S. stopped its annual military exercises with South Korea.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Ri Su Yong defended his country’s right to a nuclear deterrent and claimed the U.S. was ‘totally mistaken’ if it thought further economic sanctions would be enough to stop their nuclear programme.
We made what we consider a very logical proposal to the US government. Stop your nuclear war exercises in the Korean peninsula, then we’ll cease nuclear tests.
His comments came after North Korea announced it had successfully launch a ballistic missile from a submarine- a development which could mean the country would be able to launch a nuclear weapon without warning.
Mr Ri called on the U.S. to now suspend its military exercises, so talks can then begin to end the escalation.
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. 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 a wide-ranging interview with AP, he defended the recent sentencing of a U.S. student to 15 years’ hard labour, suggesting the case was being used ‘as a tactic to make our lives difficult’ by Washington.
He also rejected the idea that North Korea was a secretive kingdom that has closed itself off from the rest of the world, adding: “We have our doors open for anybody who is interested to come to the DPRK and see the reality”.
However, he did go on to mention that there would be risks for visitors who ‘totally fabricate’ the country’s situation.
Any takers for a holiday in Pyongang? No? Thought not.