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N. Korean paper justifies nuclear arsenal despite recent inter-Korean agreement

2018/03/07 11:52

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SEOUL, March 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state newspaper on Wednesday justified the country's nuclear weapons development and said it cannot be subject to dispute, one day after South Korea unveiled a landmark agreement with the regime to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"There was no other choice at the sharp phase of confrontation where (North Korea) had to defend its own institution and fate on its own in the face of the United States, the world's biggest nuclear power," the North's Rodong Sinmun said in a column. "We came into possession of nuclear weapons in a righteous manner with a goal of defending the country's top interest against U.S. nuclear threats."

   The country's possession of nuclear weapons is "justifiable" and cannot be a source of dispute, it also said.

The newspaper went on to praise the country's development of hydrogen bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles as "a brilliant victory" to balance against the U.S.

"The peace and security of the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia and the world have been secured thanks to our strengthening of nuclear deterrence," the paper argued. "Our nuclear (program) is aimed at punishing and securing peace from aggressors and warmongers, not threatening anyone."

   The column came one day after Seoul announced the results of a South Korean presidential delegation's two-day trip to North Korea and meeting with leader Kim Jong-un.

In the meeting, the two sides agreed to hold a summit between President Moon Jae-in and Kim in late April and to establish a hotline between them.

The North also expressed willingness to suspend weapons tests and discuss denuclearization with Washington, raising hopes for a possible breakthrough in the North Korean nuclear stalemate and tensions on the peninsula.