North Korea Tells G-7 That It Will Never Give Up Nuclear Weapons

North Korea’s foreign minister made her first formal statement directed at the US in about half a year to say Pyongyang will keep its nuclear weapons and punish Group of Seven members who try to change that.
“The position of the DPRK as a nuclear weapons state will remain as an undeniable and stark reality — no matter that the US and the West would not recognize it for a hundred or a thousand years,” Choe Son Hui, said in a statement published Friday by the official Korean Central News Agency. The country’s top diplomat was referring to North Korea by its formal name.
The message served as a reminder that leader Kim Jong Un may try to force his way on to the agenda when G-7 leaders hold their annual summit next month in Japan. His regime has ratcheted up tensions to levels unseen in years with tests of new weapons to deliver nuclear strikes, including a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles launched for the first time this month that could be quickly deployed to carry a warhead to the US mainland.
“We make it clear that we don’t have any interest in what G-7 does but if it shows any behavioral attempt to infringe upon the sovereignty and fundamental interests of the DPRK, it will be completely deterred by strong counteraction,” Choe said.
North Korea’s ability to deliver a nuclear strike has grown to the point that some policy experts have made calls to declare the country a nuclear weapons state. The change would lead to a revamp of a decades-old US policy aimed at preventing that from happening, while seeking the complete, verifiable and irreversible end of its atomic arsenal. There’s no sign the Biden administration would make such a declaration. 
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is hosting the G-7 meeting in his hometown of Hiroshima, has long campaigned for an end to nuclear arms and protested North Korea’s blistering pace of ballistic missile launches in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions that bar Pyongyang from the tests.
The North Korean leader this week ordered the launch of a military spy satellite, a move that could allow him to keep an eye on US allies as well as advance his arsenal of ballistic missiles.
Kim’s regime last launched a space rocket in February 2016, when the country claimed to have put an earth-observation satellite into orbit as part of what it said was a lawful space program. The satellite is thought to have never reached orbit. 
Pyongyang has a habit of timing its provocations to major political events and could be looking for weapons tests to coincide with a state visit to Washington next week by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. North Korea’s propaganda apparatus has branded Yoon a “puppet traitor,” and stepped up its provocations to coincide with joint military drills between the US and South Korea.

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