NewsBreak: North Korea says nuclear status is ‘final and irreversible’

SEOUL, April 21 (UPI) — North Korea ‘s foreign minister on Friday dismissed recent calls for nuclear disarmament by the Group of Seven, claiming that the secretive regime’s status as a nuclear power is “final and irreversible.”

In a joint communique issued earlier this week, top diplomats from the G7 member states condemned North Korea’s “unprecedented number of unlawful ballistic missile launches” and urged the North to comply with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui called the communique “the most absurd and illegal interference in the internal affairs of the DPRK,” in a statement carried by state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.

Choe said that the North was “compelled to have access to nukes literally to defend itself from the U.S. threat.”

“It is anachronistic to think that the right to and capability for nuclear strike is exclusive to Washington,” she said. “The position of the DPRK as a world-class nuclear power is final and irreversible.”

Any effort by G7 members to infringe on North Korean sovereignty will be “completely deterred by strong counteraction,” she added.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry responded to the remarks on Friday, urging Pyongyang to “stop claiming deterrence and making threats and listen to the international community’s concerns about its reckless nuclear and missile provocations.”

“North Korea will never get what it wants through its nuclear and missile development and it will become more isolated from the international community,” ministry spokeswoman Lee Hyo-jung said at a press briefing.

The foreign minister’s statement comes a week after Pyongyang launched its first solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile , which analysts say could present new challenges for missile defense systems.

The North has conducted a flurry of weapons tests in response to large-scale joint military exercises held last month by the United States and South Korea, which Pyongyang condemned as preparations for an invasion.

Earlier this week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un slammed the “escalating military threat” of the allies and claimed that Washington’s deployment of aircraft carriers and bombers to the peninsula was an effort “to turn South Korea into an advanced base for aggression and an arsenal for war.”

Kim said the North was ready to launch a completed spy satellite but did not specify a target date. Pyongyang also recently conducted trial runs of its Haeil underwater nuclear attack drone and unveiled new, smaller Hwasan-31 tactical nuclear warheads.

North Korea has not responded to routine daily calls on an inter-Korean liaison channel since April 7, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said Friday.

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