North Korea made it extremely clear on Tuesday that the reclusive, rogue state is not interested in a nuclear deal like the one Western powers including the U.S. just signed with Iran.
A spokesperson for Pyongyang said that comparisons between the isolated state and Iran were “illogical” and ruled out the possibility of talks for denuclearization. Some politically naive/optimistic global leaders and diplomats had hoped North Korea might be interested in a deal like Iran’s to get out from under crushing international sanctions.
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“The DPRK is not interested at all in the dialogue to discuss the issue of making it freeze or dismantle its nukes unilaterally,” a foreign ministry spokesman noted on Tuesday, using its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“It is not logical to compare our situation with the Iranian nuclear agreement because we are always subjected to provocative U.S. military hostilities, including massive joint military exercises and a grave nuclear threat,” the statement continued. “We do not have any interest at all on dialogue for unilaterally freezing or giving up our nukes,” it said.
In the past, North Korea has said it will continue to build and improve nuclear weapons to protect itself from the U.S., and the foreign ministry spokesperson reemphasized that position in his statement.
More on North Korean nuclear weapons program
Chinese intelligence estimates are that North Korea had close to 20 nuclear warheads in December 2014, and it could double that number by Christmas of this year. U.S. intelligence reports suggest that Pyongyang actually has only a handful of functional nuclear weapons, probably still in the single digits.
Military analysts note North Korean military regularly tests new rockets, including primitive ballistic missiles banned by the United Nations sanctions on the rogue nation. The country has undertaken at least three underground nuclear tests, with the most recent test explosion in 2013.
Also of note, North Korea and Iran have been friendly since Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979. Both nations have had to deal with economic sanctions over their nuclear programs for quite a number of years.
Just last week, the six Western powers finally concluded a deal with Iran to stop it producing nuclear weapons in return for relief from sanctions.
U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman commented after the deal was signed that the Iran nuclear deal, and the eventual lifting of sanctions, “might give North Korea second thoughts”, but she also noted the two political situations are quite different..
Six-party North Korea denuclearization talks stalled since 2008
A couple of months ago, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the six nations who had negotiated with North Korea in the past had coordinated their efforts to encourage the country to participate in preliminary talks.
Pyongyang, however, has made no response to offers made both by the U.S. and South Korea over the last few months, according to diplomatic sources.
The negotiating forum was called the six-party talks, and actually began talks 12 years ago regarding terminating North Korea’s nuclear weapons program in exchange in return for economic aid and security guarantees. However, North Korea walked out on the negotiations in 2008, and has refused to return to the table for further talks.
North Korea has also promised a cyber war against the U.S.
As reported by ValueWalk, North Korea responded to a media report in early June claiming that Pyongyang had been targeted in a failed cyber-attack by the United States using the Stuxnet malware that was used to slow down Iran’s nuclear program a few years ago.
The Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s largest daily newspaper and a major propaganda mouthpiece of the ruling Workers Party of Korea, published an articles saying that North Korea would wage a cyber-war against the U.S. to “hasten its ruin.”
“It is the firm determination of the DPRK to wage Korean-style cyber war to hasten the final ruin of the U.S. and the forces following it, who attempted to bring down the former with the cyber war,” it added.
Of interest, North Koreans are believed to be responsible for the huge 2014 cyber-attack against Sony Pictures. The studio was attacked because it had produced a parody film that focused on a fictional assassination of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. The Sony hack resulted in the leak of a great deal of sensitive information and emails.