Tue | Oct 16, 2018

N. Korea says it won't give up nukes if US keeps up 'blackmail'

Published:Sunday | December 31, 2017 | 12:00 AM
In this undated file photo distributed on September 16, 2017, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (right), celebrates what was said to be the test launch of an intermediate range missile at an undisclosed location.

SEOUL (AP):

North Korea said yesterday that it will never give up its nuclear weapons as long as the United States and its allies continue their "blackmail and war drills" at its doorstep.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) took the oft-repeated stance as it reviewed the country's major nuclear weapons and missile tests this year.

North Korea conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date in September and launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles into the sea in July and November, indicating that it is closer than ever to gaining a nuclear arsenal that could viably target the mainland United States.

The aggressive tests have led to more international sanctions and pressure on North Korea amid concerns that the window for stopping or rolling back its nuclear programme is closing rapidly.

The US and South Korea have maintained that they won't negotiate with the North unless it is willing to discuss curbing its nuclear weapons and missile programme.

In its report Saturday, KCNA said North Korea had taken steps for "bolstering the capabilities for self-defence and pre-emptive attacks with nuclear force" in the face of a continued "nuclear threat and blackmail and war drills" by the United States and its "vassal forces".

"Do not expect any change in its policy. Its entity as an invincible power can neither be undermined nor be stamped out," KCNA said.