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North Korean Official Defends 'Entitlement' to Posess Nuclear Weapons - 2002-11-01

North Korea's ambassador to China says his country is entitled to have nuclear weapons because it feels threatened by the United States. The ambassador repeated Pyongyang's demand that the United States sign a non-aggression pact.

Ambassador Choe Jin Su on Friday reiterated North Korea's assertion that the United States has threatened it with nuclear weapons for decades.

A senior U.S. diplomat, James Kelly, said last month that North Korea has admitted it is attempting to enrich uranium for use in nuclear weapons. The ambassador, however, said through a translator that North Korea needs all types of weapons for its security. "That is why we said to the U.S. envoy Mr. Kelly that we as a small country are entitled to have any kind of weapon that is more powerful than a nuclear weapon to defend our sovereignty," he said.

Speaking at a news conference in Beijing, Ambassador Choe repeated Pyongyang's position that if the United States signs a non-aggression pact, North Korea would "remove" Washington's security concerns.

The United States and its allies have been pushing Pyongyang to abandon the weapons program, which violates several international agreements.