|N Korea to expand nuclear capability|
|Written by Administrator|
|Wednesday, 29 September 2010 23:53|
North Korea has vowed to expand its nuclear arsenal as a "deterrent" in response to foreseeable threats by the US.
North Korean Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Pak Kil-yon vowed on Wednesday to keep what he called a 'nuclear deterrent' in place as long as US nuclear aircraft carriers sail around North Korea.
"Our nuclear weapons are not a means to attack or threaten others, but a self-defensive deterrent ... to counter aggression and attack from outside," Pak said.
Tensions have heightened in northeast Asia since North Korea was accused by South Korea of torpedoing one of its ships, which resulted in the death of more than 40 onboard sailors. An accusation vehemently rejected by Pyongyang.
Pak accused the US of being a disrupter of peace and further stressed that North Korea would have been many times turned into a war field if the North did not posses nuclear arms.
The North has been in the international spotlight recently with the news that ailing leader Kim Jong-il has requested that his youngest son Kim Jong-un should succeed him.
South Korea along with the US on Monday continued their latest series of joint anti-submarine exercises.
This has angered the North with Pak saying: "South Korea is advised not to create tension on the Korean peninsula by waging war exercises with outside forces and pursuing confrontational approach."
The North had signed a commitment in 2005 promising to work towards a nuclear-free Korean peninsula along with the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea.
North Korea however, later withdrew from talks in 2008 and has since been sanctioned by the UN due to its continuing nuclear program.
There have been efforts made by China and Russia requesting a speedy resumption to negotiations. The US and South Korea have remained more cautious requesting the North to provide evidence that it is wiling to commit to negotiations this time around.
The North was accused this week by the South of blocking the talks between the six nations with South Korea's Vice Foreign Minster Chun Yung-woo saying that the North was trying to "buy time to build up its nuclear capability."
North Korea first carried out a nuclear test in 2006 and followed this with a second test in May last year.