North Korea tells UN chief nuclear programme not up for negotiation

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (centre) at a military inspection on Aug 14, 2017.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (centre) at a military inspection on Aug 14, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

UNITED NATIONS (REUTERS) - North Korea's nuclear weapons programme will never be up for negotiation as long as the US government's "hostile policy and nuclear threat continue", Pyongyang's deputy UN ambassador told United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Guterres spoke by telephone with Deputy Ambassador Kim In Ryong on Tuesday, the North Korean mission to the United Nations said in a statement on Thursday (Aug 17).

North Korea's UN Ambassador Ja Song Nam is currently in North Korea, also known as DPRK.

"As long as the US hostile policy and nuclear threat continue, the DPRK... will never place its self-defensive nuclear deterrence on the negotiation table or flinch an inch from the road chosen by itself, the road of bolstering up the state nuclear force," Kim told Guterres according to an account of the phone call given by the North Korea UN mission.

Guterres said on Wednesday it was time to "dial down rhetoric and dial up diplomacy" on North Korea and that he had told Russia, Japan, the United States, China and North and South Korea that he was available to help broker talks.

US President Donald Trump warned North Korea last week it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States, prompting North Korea to say it was considering plans to fire missiles toward Guam.

But North Korean media reported on Tuesday that Kim delayed the decision while he waited to see what the United States did next, prompting Trump to praise Kim's "wise" decision.

"As the US launched full-scale provocation against the DPRK across all fields of politics, economy and military, nothing can alter the will and resolve of the army and people of the DPRK to respond by taking resolute retaliatory measures," Kim told Guterres according to the North Korean statement.

The UN Security Council unanimously a US-drafted resolution to impose new sanctions on North Korea on Aug 5 that could slash by a third the Asian state's US$3 billion (S$4 billion) annual export revenue.

Kim told Guterres the resolution "constitutes a flagrant infringement upon (North Korea's) sovereignty and an open challenge to it."

North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programmes and the Security Council has ratcheted up the measures in response to five nuclear weapons tests and four long-range missile launches.

"The DPRK will make the US pay dearly for all the heinous crime it commits against the state and people of this country," the North Korea UN mission said Kim told Guterres.