The Korea Herald


N. Korea says its status as nuclear weapons state 'final, irreversible'

By Yonhap

Published : April 21, 2023 - 09:37

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This undated image shows North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui. (Yonhap) This undated image shows North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui. (Yonhap)

North Korea's foreign minister said Friday that the United States and the West have no right to argue about its status as a nuclear weapons power, slamming a recent joint statement by the Group of Seven (G-7) diplomats as interference in internal affairs.

In a statement, Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui took issue with the G-7 Foreign Ministers that condemned the North's unlawful ballistic missile launches and said Pyongyang "cannot and will never" have the status of a nuclear weapons state under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"G7 has neither authority nor qualification to say this or that about the DPRK's exercise of its sovereignty and its national status," she said in the statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

North Korea's position as a "world-class nuclear power is final and irreversible," and will remain an "undeniable and stark reality" even if Washington does not recognize it for a thousand years, she added.

Choe then warned that any move by G-7 members to infringe on the North's sovereignty and fundamental interests will be "completely deterred by strong counteraction."

"What should change now is not the DPRK but the US, and the US should bear in mind that its security can be guaranteed only when it completely roots out its hostile policy toward the DPRK," she said.

She also claimed that the North's status as a nuclear power was not "granted or recognized" but established "along with the existence of the actual nuclear deterrence and fixed by the law." In September last year, Pyongyang passed a new law declaring itself a nuclear weapons state.

"We will never seek any recognition and approval from anyone as we are satisfied with our access to the strength for a tit-for-tat strike against the US nuclear threat," she added.

On the NPT, she argued North Korea is "free from any NPT obligations" as it legally withdrew from the treaty in 2003.

"We will continue to take action measures based on all legal rights granted to a sovereign state until the military threat posed by the US and its allied forces hostile toward us is completely removed and the hostile surrounding environment harassing the independent existence and development of our country is put to a definite end," she added.

Wrapping up a three-day meeting in Japan, the G-7 foreign ministers on Tuesday issued a joint statement urging North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and fully comply with the NPT safeguards. They also condemned the North's test-firing of what it claimed to be a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile. (Yonhap)