“North Korea must abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and cease all related activities immediately”, State Department spokeswoman Katina Adams told Yonhap News Agency.
Senior government officials from the two Koreas met Friday in an effort to ease bilateral tensions that have repeatedly threatened to spill over into a resumption of the 1950-53 Korean War.
The meeting in itself was an achievement after a period of stop-start communication between the Koreas – it was the product of an agreement reached in August following a spike in hostilities.
Nor were the sanctions imposed on North Korea by the South in 2010 when it blamed a North Korean torpedo for sinking a warship, killing 46 South Koreans.
As Friday’s meeting will only be attended by vice-ministers, it is unlikely that they will discuss the most serious issues in the two countries’ often tense relationship.
Vice Unification Minister Hwang Boo-gi is heading the South’s delegation while the North’s chief delegate is Jon Jong-su, vice director of the secretariat of the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea. Pyongyang denies any involvement.
During a recent inspection tour of a historical military site, Kim mentioned that North Korea was already a “powerful nuclear weapons state ready to detonate self-reliant A-bomb and H-bomb to reliably defend its sovereignty”, the North’s official KCNA news agency as saying during an inspection of the Phyongchon Revolutionary Site.
Few neighbours and experts also reached the North Korean claims with caution.
The industrial zone in Kaesong, founded in 2002, is the last remaining major joint project to result from an earlier period of improved ties.
In September, however, the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) had raised a red flag over what appeared to be a new “hot cell” facility under construction at the North Korea’s main Yongbyon nuclear complex.
The United Nations Security Council will discuss the human rights situation in North Korea on Thursday as defectors and victims of torture complain that not enough has been done since the publication of a landmark report in 2014.
The comments were likely to be an “attention-grabbing effort to assert North Korean autonomy and his own political authority”, he told the BBC. Every year, South Korean and U.S. soldiers perform massive military exercises right across the border from North Korea.
About 71,000 South Koreans, more than half of them elderly people aged over 80, are reportedly on Seoul’s waiting list for an eventual reunion.
The Foreign Ministry in China, North Korea’s most significant diplomatic and economic backer, said China was dedicated to solving issues through discussions and ensuring the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
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