Pyongyang. Pyongyang assured Seoul that its nuclear weapons are not aimed at its “brethren” in South Korea, asserting that the nation’s nuclear program will be non-negotiable in the coming talks with Seoul.
“All our weapons including atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs and ballistic missiles are only aimed at the United States, not our brethren, nor China and Russia,” the chairman of the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, Ri Son Gwon, said during a joint statement with South Korea on Tuesday.
The fresh talks were being held behind closed doors at the Peace House in the Joint Security Area in the truce village of Panmunjom at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the divided countries.
North Korea’s state-run news agency says Pyongyang will continue to develop its nuclear program, declaring the country as an “invincible” nuclear power.
Ri, who is also the chairman of the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, warned in his closing remarks that Pyongyang would absolutely not discuss its nuclear weapons in future negotiations with Seoul.
“This is not a matter between North and South Korea, and to bring up this issue would cause negative consequences and risks turning all of today’s good achievement into nothing,” he added, after 11 hours of inter-Korean talks.
In a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting, Pyongyang also made a “strong complaint” after Seoul proposed negotiations to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
The two Koreas have long had strained ties. They have been separated by a heavily militarized border since the three-year-long Korean War came to an end in 1953. The conflict ended with an armistice rather than a formal peace treaty, leaving many families separated at the two sides.
The South believes improved inter-Korean relations and a series of steps agreed on Tuesday could be able to pave the way for negotiating a “fundamental resolution” of its northern neighbor’s nuclear issue in the future, the South’s Unification Ministry said in a separate statement.
“We will closely coordinate with the United States, China, Japan and other neighbors in this process,” it added.
In the joint statement, the North also pledged to send a large delegation to next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, including athletes, high-ranking officials, a cheering squad, art performers, reporters and spectators.