North Korea is not interested in talking to the U.S. until it has the clear ability to devastate the U.S. mainland, a North Korean official revealed Monday.
Pyongyang will not negotiate with Washington until it has an intercontinental ballistic missile that can deliver a nuclear payload “all the way to the East Coast of the mainland U.S.,” a North Korean official introduced to CNN.
“Before we can engage in diplomacy with the Trump administration, we want to send a clear message that the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] has a reliable defensive and offensive capability to counter any aggression from the United States,” the official said.
Others have heard similar statements from North Korea in recent meetings.
“They have said publicly and privately that denuclearization is totally off the table, that they will never abandon their treasured nuclear sword, and they told us when I met with them in June, ‘accept us as a nuclear state, and then we can either talk about a peace treaty or fight,'” Bruce Klingner, former chief of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Korea branch and now a senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, revealed to the Daily Caller News Foundation recently.
North Korea tested its Hwasong-14 ICBM twice successfully in July, demonstrating the ability to strike parts, if not most, of the continental U.S. In September, it conducted its sixth nuclear test, detonating a suspected hydrogen bomb that it intends to mount on its long-range missiles. Prior to the test, North Korean media released images of the warhead.
North Korea has stated repeatedly that it is close to realizing its nuclear ambitions and will not negotiate away its nuclear arsenal. “We have nearly achieved the final point on the way to our ultimate goal, to achieving a real balance of force with the United States,” North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said last week, explaining, “Final scores be settled with the Americans only with a hail of fire, and not with words.”
The White House has signaled that it is not currently interested in talking to North Korea.
The U.S. is carrying out a pressure campaign against the regime, in theory to alter its strategic calculus. Whether the U.S. is ultimately interested in talks remains unclear. President Donald Trump has stressed that talking is not the answer, arguing that trying to negotiate with ‘Rocket Man’ Kim Jong Un is a “waste of time,” but he also said he is open to negotiations with North Korea if that becomes possible at some point in the future.
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