A senior North Korean diplomat on Monday warned that new “nuclear measures” would be carried out if Washington doesn’t alter its policy toward Pyongyang.
North Korean Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Ri Tong Il told reporters his government was prepared to provide another display of its atomic capabilities, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
“We are ready to take a series of additional nuclear measures to demonstrate the power of the self-defensive nuclear deterrent,” Ri said without specifying what kind of actions would take place. “I think you can wait and see later.”
Previous demonstrations of Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities have included underground nuclear explosions, long-range ballistic missile tests and giving foreign experts a tour of a previously undeclared uranium-enrichment facility.
North Korea last spring announced it was dedicating more facilities to producing weapons-usable nuclear material. In the months since, surveillance satellites have detected significant progress in the construction of a new light-water reactor, in the restarting of a mothballed graphite reactor and in the expansion of the uranium plant. However, a recent expert image analysis of the country’s atomic detonation grounds and rocket launch sites did not detect any signs that a new test was in the works.
Ri criticized Washington for sending nuclear-capable bombers and atomic submarines to participate in drills with South Korea at a time when Pyongyang and Seoul were attempting to improve bilateral relations, the Associated Press reported.
So long as the United States maintains “nuclear blackmail,” the North will continue to undertake actions that show off its deterrent capabilities, he said.
Ri also condemned the U.S. policy of “strategic patience,” which calls for refraining from serious engagement until North Korea first demonstrates a commitment to denuclearization.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Obama discussed the North Korean nuclear impasse with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a brief meeting on the margins of the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, Yonhap reported separately.
The U.S. leader advised Xi against pushing to reinvigorate a frozen multinational process focused on North Korean denuclearization if Pyongyang did not first take specific steps to shutter its nuclear program, said Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser.
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