Speaking at the final session of the UN 193-member General Assembly, North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Pak Kil-yon announced that, “Due to the continued US hostile policy towards the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], the vicious cycle of confrontation and aggravation of tension is an ongoing phenomenon on the Korean Peninsula, which has become the world’s most dangerous hotspot where a spark of fire could set off a thermonuclear war.”
North Korean diplomat focused on the relations between Pyongyang and Washington, for 60 years co-existing without a peace treaty since the war in 1950-1953 which ended with an armistice. The diplomat accused the US of nourishing an idea of total destruction of his country since the day it was founded, in order to “occupy the whole of the Korean Peninsula and to use it as a stepping-stone for realizing its strategy of dominating the whole of Asia.”
The State Department of the US has offered no comment on the speech so far.
North Korea’s statement in the UN is notable for at least two reasons. Pyongyang conducted two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, but has so far never mentioned or hinted that it possesses military thermonuclear technology – a real step-up from uranium- and plutonium-based nuclear weapons. In July, though, North Korea warned its southern neighbor and the US that it is going to “re-examine its nuclear capabilities” after perceiving new threats. That warning came after Seoul, Washington and seven other countries conducted 80,000-person war games in South Korea in June.
The six-party nuclear talks with Pyongyang commenced in 2003, but were interrupted several times. For nearly a decade the US, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea have been negotiating with North Korea in order to stop its nuclear program. But Pyongyang took one step forward, two steps back, pulling out of the six-party talks on April 14, 2005, saying it would resume its nuclear enrichment program in order to boost its nuclear deterrent. The country also expelled all nuclear inspectors from its territory.
On October 9, 2006, Pyongyang conducted its first nuclear test, which finally led to UN sanctions against the country and discontinuation of the six-party talks.
In August 2011, after a meeting with Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il said he is ready to resume the six-party talks on the settlement of the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula without preconditions. But the death of North Korea’s longtime leaderon December 17, 2011, drew the proposal to a halt.
Since the death of Kim Jong-il, the DPRK’s representative in the UN has been silent – until the angry speech on Monday. It appears that the transfer of power to Kim Jong-il’s son, Kim Jong-un is over, as the North Korean diplomat addressed to his country’s new leader as to “our dear respected marshal.”
The military title of the new North Korean leader might serve as evidence that the country’s policies are not subject to change and the role of the army in the country’s life has even grown up. The young leader Kim Jong-un is very fond of visiting army units throughout the country.
Deputy Foreign Minister Pak Kil-yon said Pyongyang is aware of US “plans” to implement finalized scenarios for a new Korean War and impose military rule over whole Korean Peninsula after an invasion.
However, Pak Kil-yon warned, “The DPRK’s patience does not mean it is unlimited,” with obvious reference to his country’s proven nuclear capabilities, which prevent the US military “from turning into an all-out war on the Korean Peninsula”.
North Korea has always stressed that it needs nuclear arms to deter the threat by the US, which maintains a number of military bases in South Korea and Japan, with dozens of thousands of troops and rumored nuclear arms stockpiled on those territories.