Pyongyang has threatened to “reexamine” its nuclear capabilities after perceiving a new, threatening agenda from its southern neighbor and United States.
”The consistent hostile policy towards the DPRK pursued by the US is giving rise to the evil cycle of confrontation and tensions on the Korean Peninsula, making the prospect of denuclearizing the peninsula all the more gloomy,” an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
The comments come in response to the arrest of North Korean defector Jon Yong Chol, who is accused of returning to the country with orders from South Korean and US intelligence to blow up statues and monuments in order to create the appearance of internal unrest.
North Korean television broadcasted Chol’s testimony, where he outlined his alleged plans.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles relations with North Korea, confirmed Chol’s 2010 defection but has denounced the sabotage allegation as groundless, with one official calling it an “improbable plot,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
North Korea has also accused Washington of backing the plot, thus violating a deal with Pyongyang to pull back on its atomic program.
“Without the US fundamental repeal of its hostile policy toward the DPRK first, it will be completely impossible to settle the issue of ensuring the lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”
In June, North Korea claimed that it had no plans to conduct a third nuclear test, after the UN Security Council tightened sanctions on Pyongyang after a failed rocket launch in April.
Previous atomic tests have been conducted in 2006 and 2009.
Military nuclear capability is not the only thing North Korea’s young leader wants to reexamine.
This week, Kim Jong-un dismissed his military chief, apparently after he voiced his opposition to major economic reforms about to be initiated by the country’s leader.
Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho, a supporter of the military first policy, had been discharged for opposing plans to seize control of economic policy from the military, Reuters reports.
“The military plays a huge economic role in North Korea – they deal with harvesting the crops, they deal with working on roads. A lot of the employment in North Korea relates to militarism and the military, but it’s a change of attitude that is necessary, and perhaps what we’re beginning to see is that the North Koreans are beginning to understand that that change is necessary not only to engage more with the rest of the world, but to begin to move forward with their own aspirations to be a strong, independent country,” Eric Sirotkin, of the Campaign to End the Korean War, told RT.
The planned reforms could be Pyongyang’s most significant move in decades to revive its economy. Previous attempts, like 2009’s currency re-denomination, have not been welcomed by the public.
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