The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a country in East Asia, located in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering South Korea and China. Its capital, Pyongyang, is the country's largest city by both land area and population. It is a single-party state led by the Korean Workers' Party (KWP), and governed by Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un since 2012. It has a population of 24,052,231 (UN-assisted DPRK census 2008) made up of Koreans and a smaller Chinese minority. Japan 'opened' Korea in 1876 and annexed it in 1910. The Republic of Korea (ROK) was founded with US support in the south in August 1948 and the Soviet-backed Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north in September that year.
North Korea says nukes are not a bargaining chip for aid
North Korea said on Sunday it would never trade its nuclear weapons programme for aid and stressed its “unshakeable” stance to retain the deterrent, following a third atomic test last month.
The North’s foreign ministry, in a statement carried by state television, rejected suggestions that the impoverished state was using its weapons programme as a way of bullying neighbours into offering much-needed aid.
“The US is seriously mistaken if it thinks that the [North] had access to nukes as a bargaining chip to barter them for what it called economic reward,” it said.
The comments came days after the US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said Washington was willing to hold “authentic negotiations” with the North if it changed its behaviour.
“To get the assistance it desperately needs and the respect it claims it wants, North Korea will have to change course,” he said last week.
But the North on Sunday called its atomic weaponry a “treasured sword” to protect itself from what it called a hostile US policy.
The US “temptation” may work on other countries “but it sounds nonsensical” to the North, the foreign ministry statement said.
“The [North] would like to re-clarify its unshakeable principled stand on its nuclear deterrence for self-defence.”
Last month’s test, its most powerful to date, prompted the United Nations to further tighten sanctions imposed following previous nuclear tests and long-range rocket launches in 2006 and 2009.
The tougher sanctions, and an ongoing South Korean-US military exercise, sparked an angry response from Pyongyang, which said it was tearing up the armistice that ended the Korean War and ending non-aggression pacts with Seoul.
The country has suffered chronic food and fuel shortages for decades, with the situation exacerbated by floods, droughts, mismanagement and global sanctions.
International food aid, especially from South Korea and the US, has been drastically cut over the past several years amid tensions over the North’s nuclear and missile programmes.
A six-nation aid-for-denuclearisation forum on the North, involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, the US and Russia, have been at a standstill since the last meeting in December 2008.
Almost 28 per cent of the North’s children aged under five are stunted from malnutrition, a last year UN national nutrition survey showed.