North Korea tells UN it now has “effective war deterrence”, will focus on the economy

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – North Korea has “a reliable and effective war deterrent for self-defense” and will now focus on developing its economy, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN said on Tuesday. Kim Song, while acknowledging that international sanctions were an obstacle.

FILE PHOTO: North Korean Ambassador to the United Nations Kim Song speaks at a press conference in New York, United States, October 7, 2019. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Kim also said that “the anti-epidemic situation in our country is now under safe and stable control” due to the measures taken to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. North Korea has said it has no confirmed cases, although some US officials have questioned the claim.

Already weighed down by tough international sanctions on its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, Pyongyang also faces significant economic damage due to strict border closures and other measures to prevent a coronavirus outbreak and fight to do so. in the face of damage caused by recent storms and floods.

“Based on its reliable guarantee for safeguarding the security of the state and the people, the DPRK is now directing all its efforts towards economic construction,” Kim said, using his country’s official name – Democratic People’s Republic. from Korea.

“It is a fact that we sorely need an external environment favorable to economic construction,” he said. “But we cannot sell our dignity in the hope of a brilliant transformation – the dignity we have stood for as precious as our own life. This is our steadfast position. “

He said North Korea was still threatened by military equipment such as stealth fighters used on the Korean Peninsula and that “nuclear strike means of all kinds are aimed directly at the DPRK.”

“Genuine peace can only be saved if one has the absolute strength to prevent war itself,” Kim said. “While we have secured a reliable and effective war deterrent for self-defense by tightening our belts, the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula and the region is now firmly defended.”

Independent UN sanctions monitors reported to the UN Security Council in August that North Korea is continuing its nuclear weapons program and several countries believe it has “likely developed miniaturized nuclear devices for its sake. ‘adapt to the warheads of its ballistic missiles’.

Jenny Town, a member of the Stimson Center and deputy director of 38 North, said in the envoy’s speech “there were no threats or overt allusions to displays of force or power in the near future. . He was very focused on rebuilding and recovering from the internal situation.

She added that if North Korea wants sanctions relief, “it will not just give up its guns on the promise of a better future” and that tangible steps would be needed to prove that relations with the states- United had changed before Pyongyang could justify taking action that would compromise its security.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump have met three times since 2018, but have failed to advance US calls for Pyongyang to renounce its nuclear weapons and demands for the North Korea for the end of the sanctions.

North Korea’s ruling party is planning a congress in January to decide on a new five-year plan, state media reported last month, after a party meeting noted serious delays in improving national economy and standard of living.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols and David Brunnstrom; Edited by Grant McCool

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