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North Korean Official Says US Must 'Put Up" with Pyongyang's Nuclear Weapons

  • VOA News

FILE - Choe Son Hui, deputy director general of the Department of US Affairs of North Korea Foreign Ministry, briefs journalists outside the North Korean embassy in Beijing, China, June 23, 2016.

A senior North Korean official said in Moscow Friday that Pyongyang does not plan to discuss its nuclear program with the U.S., insisting Washington would have "have to put up" with the reality it possesses nuclear weapons.

"This is a matter of life and death for us," North Korean Foreign Ministry official Choe Son-hui told a non-proliferation conference in Moscow.

Chon maintained that North Korea's nuclear weapons are needed to respond to any potential attacks.

"We will respond to fire with fire," Choe said.

No negotiations

North Korea has said many times its nuclear weapons program is not subject to negotiation, and has rejected U.S. calls for its denuclearization.

The North is likely just months away from being capable of striking the United States with a nuclear missile, according to two top U.S. officials.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said he is “deeply worried” about the advancing threat from North Korea and the possibility it could spark a nuclear arms race across East Asia.

FILE - National security adviser H.R. McMaster speaks during the Foundation for Defense of Democracies National Security Summit in Washington, Oct. 19, 2017.
FILE - National security adviser H.R. McMaster speaks during the Foundation for Defense of Democracies National Security Summit in Washington, Oct. 19, 2017.


U.S. National Security Adviser, General H.R. McMaster said later that Washington was racing to resolve the situation, short of using military force.

“We’re not out of time but we’re running out of time,” McMaster said. “Accept and deter is unacceptable.”

Escalating tensions

Tensions between the two countries have been escalating following Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test last month, it’s sixth overall. North Korea has also conducted repeated tests of what intelligence officials have assessed to be both intermediate and long range ballistic missiles.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned against the use of force to eliminate the North Korean nuclear threat, suggesting it would not work.

FILE - People watch a launching of a Hwasong-12 strategic ballistic rocket aired on a public TV screen at the Pyongyang Train Station in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept. 16, 2017.
FILE - People watch a launching of a Hwasong-12 strategic ballistic rocket aired on a public TV screen at the Pyongyang Train Station in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept. 16, 2017.

Pyongyang’s deputy envoy to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, warned Monday that war could break out at any moment.

Other North Korean officials have accused the U.S. of making preparations for war, citing the presence of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, conducting exercises to the east of the Korean Peninsula.

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