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Iran Press TV

North Korea 'to develop new strategic weapon soon,' as deadline for US passes

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 01 January 2020 6:34 AM

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called off two years of a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests, saying that North Korea will soon develop a "new strategic weapon," after the United States missed a year-end deadline for the resumption of talks with Pyongyang.

Kim told a four-day meeting of party officials on Wednesday that the ban on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests, which had been agreed in talks with the United States, would no longer be in place.

"There is no ground for us to get unilaterally bound to the commitment any longer," Kim said, according to North Korea's official KCNA news agency.

"The world will witness a new strategic weapon to be possessed by the DPRK in the near future," Kim said, using an abbreviation for North Korea's official name. "We will reliably put on constant alert the powerful nuclear deterrent capable of containing the nuclear threats from the US and guaranteeing our long-term security."

The declaration came after months of repeated calls by Pyongyang on America to ease the sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in order for diplomacy to make sense.

In spite of those sanctions, Pyongyang had taken several unilateral steps as signs of goodwill in the course of diplomacy with the US since 2018. It had put a halt on its nuclear tests since 2017.

But Washington refused to offer any sanctions relief. And Kim set the year-end deadline for Washington to take action of forgo talks.

Kim further told the meeting on Wednesday that Washington "is raising demands contrary to the fundamental interests of our state and is adopting [a] brigandish attitude."

He said the US had "conducted tens of big and small joint military drills which its president personally promised to stop."

Kim said Washington had, instead, sent high-tech military equipment to South Korea and stepped up the sanctions against the North.

Trump reacts: 'We have to do what we have to do'

Reacting to Kim's remarks, US President Donald Trump said he got along well with the North's leader and "we have to do what we have to do."

"But he did sign a contract; he did sign an agreement talking about denuclearization. ... That was done in Singapore, and I think he's a man of his word, so we're going to find out," Trump added.

He was referring to a broadly-worded agreement the two sides made at the end of their first summit in Singapore in June 2018.

Kim and Trump met two more times after that summit, but negotiations faltered after the collapse of their second meeting last February in Vietnam, where the US president refused to accept a proposal for bilateral action and left the talks.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also reacted to Kim's remarks by saying that it would be "deeply disappointing" if Kim reneged on what he called denuclearization commitments and that Kim would hopefully "choose peace and prosperity over conflict and war."

South Korea says North's plans for new strategic weapons 'unhelpful'

Hours after Kim's declaration, South Korea reacted by calling the North's plans for a new weapon "unhelpful" for diplomacy.

Spokesman for the South's Unification Ministry Lee Sang-min said that Seoul "makes it clear that if the North carries that [plan] out, it would not help denuclearization negotiations and efforts to build peace on the Korean Peninsula."

Lee said that Seoul would, however, "continue to make efforts to improve inter-Korean relations with substantial progress of the denuclearization negotiations between the United States and North Korea."

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