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North Korea to pursue nuclear and missile programs – envoy

GENEVA: North Korea will pursue its nuclear and ballistic missile program in defiance of the United States and its allies, a top Pyongyang envoy told Reuters on Friday, saying there is now a state of “semi-war” on the divided peninsula.

So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, denounced huge joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises taking place which he said were aimed at “decapitation of the supreme leadership of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)”.

North Korea conducted a fourth nuclear test in January and launched a long-range rocket in February. The South Korean military said on Friday that North Korea had fired a missile into the sea off its east coast.

“If the United States continues, then we have to make the counter-measures also. So we have to develop, and we have to make more deterrence, nuclear deterrence,” So, who is also North Korea’s envoy to the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament, said in an interview.

U.S. President Barack Obama joined South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday in vowing to ramp up pressure on North Korea in response to its recent nuclear and missile tests. The three leaders recommitted their countries to each others’ defense and warned they could take further steps to counter threats from Pyongyang.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday also called for dialogue to resolve the “predicament” on the Korean peninsula during a meeting with Park in Washington, Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

So, asked whether his reclusive country felt pressure from its ally China and other powers, replied: “We are going on our own way. (We are) not having dialogue and discussions on that.”

The Security Council unanimously passed a resolution in early March expanding U.N. sanctions aimed at starving North Korea of funds for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

“We are going against that resolution also because that is not fair and (not just). At this point, because this is really the war now… We are busy to deal with this semi-war status of the situation on the peninsula now.”

Regarding the joint military exercises being conducted by U.S. and South Korean forces, he said: “Now they open (show) their true color, meaning the decapitation of the supreme leadership of DPRK.”

So, asked prospects for resuming stalled six-party talks on his country’s nuclear program replied: “The de-nuclearisation of the peninsula has gone.”

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