The following is an excerpt from Christine Kim, Hyonhee Shin | January 9, 2018 | reuters.com |
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said after its first talks with South Korea in more than two years that it would not discuss its nuclear weapons with Seoul because they were aimed only at the United States, not its “brethren” in South Korea.
In a joint statement after 11 hours of talks North Korea pledged to send a large delegation to next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea but made a “strong complaint” after Seoul proposed talks to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
Officials from both sides said they agreed to meet again to resolve problems and avert accidental conflict, amid high tension over North Korea’s program to develop nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States, but Pyongyang said disarmament would not be part of the discussions.
“All our weapons including atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs and ballistic missiles are only aimed at the United States, not our brethren, nor China and Russia,” Pyongyang’s chief negotiator, Ri Son Gwon, said.
“This is not a matter between North and South Korea, and to bring up this issue would cause negative consequences and risks turning all of today’s good achievement into nothing,” Ri, chairman of the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, warned in closing remarks.
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have exchanged threats and insults in the past year, raising tensions on the peninsula.
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