News / Asia

North Korea Pledges to Produce 'Only Necessary' Nuclear Weapons

North Korea says it will produce as many nuclear weapons as it deems necessary, but will not engage in an arms race.

In a statement published by state media Wednesday, North Korea's Foreign Ministry also said Pyongyang will join international efforts to reduce nuclear arms arsenals.

Meanwhile, Iran announced Wednesday that a senior North Korean official will visit this year.  Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Fathollahi told the IRNA news agency that the head of North Korea's assembly, Kim Yong Nam, is expected to visit Tehran in two or three months.  

Western nations accuse both Iran and North Korea of violating United Nations regulations with their nuclear programs.  Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons.

The two countries were not invited to a Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington earlier this month.  

U.S. President Barack Obama initiated the summit aimed at preventing nuclear arms proliferation.  South Korea was chosen to host a follow-up summit in 2012.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan says Seoul's hosting of the next summit serves as a message to North Korea to give up its nukes before 2012.  He expressed this view in a speech Wednesday to a private research group in Seoul.

North Korea has pulled out of six-nation talks aimed at ending its nuclear arms programs.  Iran has refused U.N. demands to stop enriching uranium, saying its nuclear activities are intended strictly for peaceful purposes.

Earlier this month, Washington singled out Iran and North Korea as "exceptions" in its new new nuclear policy, which limits the possible use of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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