Exclusive: North Korea rules out negotiations on nuclear weapons

North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations Han reads documents during an interview with Reuters in Geneva
North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations Han Tae Song reads documents during an interview with Reuters at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva, Switzerland, November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

November 17, 2017

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) – North Korea on Friday ruled out negotiations with Washington as long as joint U.S-South Korea military exercises continue, and said that Pyongyang’s atomic weapons program would remain as a deterrent against a U.S. nuclear threat.

In an interview with Reuters, Han Tae Song, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, brushed off the new sanctions which the Trump administration has said it is preparing, as well as the possibility of North Korea being added to a U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism.

South Korea and the United States agreed on Friday to keep working for a peaceful end to the North Korean nuclear crisis, but a U.S. envoy said it was difficult to gauge the reclusive North’s intentions as there has been “no signal”.

Han, asked about those bilateral talks in Seoul, replied: “As long as there is continuous hostile policy against my country by the U.S. and as long as there are continued war games at our doorstep, then there will not be negotiations.”

“There are continued military exercises using nuclear assets as well as aircraft carriers, and strategic bombers and then…raising such kinds of military exercises against my country,” he said.

He, who is ambassador to the U.N.’s Conference on Disarmament, was speaking at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) mission in Geneva, where the DPRK and the United States secured a 1994 nuclear deal which later fell apart.

He said he had no information on when North Korea might test a ballistic missile again, after the last one two months ago.

“The DPRK, my country, will continue to build-up its self-defense capability, the pivot of which is nuclear forces and capability for a triumphant…strike as long as U.S. and hostile forces keep up nuclear threat and blackmail,” Han said.

“Our country plans ultimate completion of the nuclear force,” he said.


China said on Thursday that a “dual suspension” proposal to handle North Korea was still the best option, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had rejected a “freeze for freeze” agreement.

Han, asked about China’s latest appeal for a freeze, said “the situation is far from those things”.

Han said that U.S. administrations had “never accepted” halting joint military exercises, adding: “So if they accept such things, then we will think what we do in the future.”

North Korea could not consider abandoning its nuclear program, he said, adding: “This is the deterrent, the nuclear deterrent to cope with the nuclear threat from America.”

Han said that Trump was expected to announce further sanctions against North Korea. Existing sanctions have constituted “large-scale human rights violations” that had delayed delivery of aid and consumer goods, he said.

“It is obvious that the aim of the sanctions is to overthrow the system of my country by isolating and stifling it and to intentionally bring about humanitarian disaster instead of preventing weapons development as claimed by the U.S. and its followers,” he said.

Han, asked whether new U.S. sanctions were expected against North Korean individuals or financial structures, said:

“The media is saying the Americans and Trump are considering such things.

“But that is their business and then we don’t mind what they want to do against my country since the aim is quite clear.

“So we are ready for such kinds of measures taken by America against my country,” he said.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

  • Tado

    NoKo Kim is right.
    America should stop bullying North Korea.

  • Memorable Event – A Deplorable

    I think the short fat boy dictator is thinking that we will pay him off to stop the nuclear program, just like the last three presidents did with his daddy. Not going to happen rocket man. You are doomed.

  • …remain calm and return fire

    Translation: Nuke us, please, nuke us

  • Roy Beane

    They say they “have no idea when the next missile test will be”, well, we should tell them, “OK, well, the United States just has no idea when we’re gonna bomb the Shidd out of you knuckleheads, either, you know during these war games ANYTHING can malfunction and go awry, so go chew on that for awhile.”

  • HillCountryTexas

    The last time a nuclear weapon was dropped by the US was when and we have changed administration how many times. So why do they need a nuclear deterant. They dont. So the whole thing is BS. 99% of the US does not care about NK. if they would stop putting NK in the media we would forget about them all together. The Korean war happened along time ago and we got over it. Vietnamese, Japanese, Italians, Germans, Spanish, Turkish, all have gotten over WWII. Alright, the middle east is not over the borders that were drawn back then but they will be having squirmishes amongst themselves forever.

    • akafett

      Accept the Korean War is not over.

  • Lawmadsen

    Kim will not be around by 2019, he will either be dead or will be living luxuriously in exile if he was smart.

  • Rupert

    North Korea has been doing this same ‘give us what we want and we will behave’ BS since 1953. China has been playing the same ‘we agree North Korea is a problem but we will keep on keeping them alive’ BS since 1950. If our government elites really want to shut down North Korea without blasting them off the face of the earth then they will have to decide to tell China we will have to close our economic markets with them if they continue to play their never ending game of refusing to put down their little mad dog named North Korea.

  • SlowpokeSA

    Today we learn that Rocket Man is building a ballistic missile capable submarine.

  • Decline Tostate

    Okay, thanks for letting us know. Now we can go ahead and nuke you. Have a good one.

  • akafett

    NK is trying to back down without actually backing down. First, Kim Dung-un (no, I did not mistype) makes every threat to us and our Pacific allies, then displays the ability to carry out those threats, and then vows to do so. And now Kim is saying the US is the instigator of all this. The schoolyard bully is now excusing his misbehavior by trying to blame those he was bullying.

  • Hottotrote

    Then there is no reason to negotiate at all!

  • No Mas

    N Korea will never give up the nuke threat,, it give them all the power they want to bribe others and in time sell that to other rogue entities…
    Must cut the head off the snake… remove all leaders in military and Kim Jong family.
    Only decision left is “WHEN”

  • All American

    My heart goes out to the oppressed population in North Korea. Keeping the North Korean people in prayers🙏🏻for Freedom and human rights.
    Painful to even imagine being born in the most treacherous country on earth!

  • DannyBoy

    Oh yeah well My Country is going to hurt your Puny man country …so there!!!

    • Living_The_Dream


  • Ken Knerr

    Hey Li’l Kim, it’s just a question of mind over matter. We no longer mind, because you don’t matter.