By Alex Jensen
SEOUL (AA) – North Korea insisted Tuesday that it “will produce more modern and diverse nuclear weapons” -- even as ally China hosted United States Secretary of State John Kerry for talks.
Pyongyang’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper made the defiant statement, while promising not to use such weapons “if aggressors do not attack us with nukes”.
Leader Kim Jong-un last month described his country as a responsible nuclear weapons state -- just weeks after the North was hit by strengthened United Nations sanctions following a series of nuclear provocations, including what Pyongyang hailed as a hydrogen bomb test.
The reference to “aggressors” might be interpreted primarily as the United States and South Korea.
In a separate opinion piece, the Rodong Sinmun warned the U.S. that it would meet with a “final doom” and condemned Washington’s foreign policy as “evil”.
The U.S. is a frequent target for North Korean threats, not least on the basis of there being nearly 30,000 American military personnel stationed in South Korea.
But the timing of Pyongyang’s latest comments is noteworthy because the U.S. secretary of state went on to tell reporters in Beijing that neither Washington nor China would accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state.
Kerry maintained that both countries are committed to sanctions aimed at curbing Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.
China also welcomed a senior North Korean envoy last week with a spirit of cooperation, as Beijing appears to be balancing various regional interests.