North Korean nuclear tests

North Korea dismisses restarting stalled six-party talks on its nuclear weapons programme

Official attending a forum in Beijing says her government has no thoughts of re-entering the negotiations

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 June, 2016, 4:42pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 June, 2016, 5:23pm

North Korea has ruled out resuming the stalled six-party international talks on its nuclear weapons programme, despite the repeated urgings of its closest ally China.

A North Korean official attending a security forum in Beijing said on Thursday that restarting the negotiations was not an option.

“For now, we have no thoughts about taking part in talks to discuss the DPRK’s denuclearisation,” said Choe Son-hui, deputy director-general at the North American affairs bureau in Pyongyang’s foreign ministry.

North Korean diplomat arrives in China for security conference

“Under these circumstances where the US hostile policy is still there, the DPRK is not in a position to talk about denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” she said.

The North formally quit the negotiations aimed at curbing its nuclear weapons programme in 2009.

It has since carried out a series of nuclear and missile tests, angering neighbouring countries including China.

Choe was attending a security forum attended by officials from all six nations involved in the stalled talks. They also include the United States, Japan, South Korea and Russia. It was the first time Pyongyang had sent anybody to the security dialogue since 2012.

North Korea successfully tested two powerful Musudan medium-range missiles on Wednesday, one of which flew 400 km into the Sea of Japan.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, applauded the test as a “great event” that significantly bolstered Pyongyang’s pre-emptive nuclear attack capability, the official KCNA news agency reported.

“We have the sure capability to attack in an overall and practical way the Americans in the Pacific operation theatre,” Kim was quoted as saying.

Susan Shirk, a former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and an organiser of the security forum in Beijing, said she did not expect the six-party talks to be resumed any time soon.

“We had very frank discussions and the atmosphere was extremely friendly,” she said at a press conference wrapping up the event.

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She added it was very important to maintain communications, especially when official talks have broken down.

Su Ge, president of the China Institute of International Studies, told the press conference that China maintained its position calling for denuclearisation and added that resuming the six-party talks would require joint efforts.

Additional reporting by Agence France Presse