N. Korea rejects any talks with US over nuclear freeze

SEOUL • North Korea is not interested in an Iran-like dialogue with the United States to give up its nuclear capabilities, the isolated country's foreign ministry said yesterday.

It said in a statement that North Korea's nuclear programme was an "essential deterrence" against US foreign policy towards the reclusive country, which the North views as hostile.

"It is not logical to compare our situation with the Iranian nuclear agreement because we are always subjected to provocative US military hostilities, including massive joint military exercises and a grave nuclear threat," said the statement, which was carried by state media and attributed to a foreign ministry spokesman.

"We do not have any interest at all on dialogue for unilaterally freezing or giving up our nukes."

The US and five world powers struck a historic deal with Iran last week that will limit Iran's nuclear capabilities in exchange for sanctions relief. The agreement was a great political victory for US President Barack Obama, who has long promised to reach out to the country's historical enemies, including North Korea.

The deal, in return for lifting crippling US, United Nations and European Union sanctions, stipulates that Iran must accept long-term limits on its nuclear programme.

North Korea is also heavily sanctioned by the US, the UN and the EU for procuring equipment related to its ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

"We are clearly a nuclear power and nuclear powers have their own interests," the North Korean statement said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2015, with the headline 'N. Korea rejects any talks with US over nuclear freeze'. Print Edition | Subscribe