On Monday the UN Conference on Disarmament kicked off and it was anything but dull, as the United States and North Korea clashed, after North Korean delegates noted on Tuesday that they possess a “powerful and reliable” nuclear deterrent to thwart any attack. Furthermore they accused the US of deploying military assets in the region under false pretexts.
North Korea’s Ambassador to the United Nations Han Tae Song stressed that it was dangerous as they were attempting to spoil the positive environment created after inter-Korean talks in the past few weeks, and could lead, once again to escalation of the tension in the region.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in highlighted that the Korean rapprochement presented a unique opportunity for the US and North Korea to sit at the same table and discuss many contentious issues, ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
Ambassador Han, speaking before the UN Conference on Disarmament noted that last year’s missile tests allowed North Korea to perfect its arsenal, which now includes a powerful and reliable war deterrent. He did say, of course, that North Korea was a “reliable” nuclear power and would never use these kinds of destructive weapons offensively but only in response to aggression against its sovereignty or interest.
US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood said replied that the United States will not recognize North Korea as a nuclear weapon state and added that if Pyongyang wishes to exit isolation and be once again accepted by the international community –thus ending strangulating sanctions- then the only solution is taking steps towards denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
It is noteworthy that the Conference on Disarmament was first established in 1979 as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community.