N Korea vows not to abandon nuclear arms

Last Updated: Friday, February 19, 2010 - 12:48

Seoul: North Korea vowed on Friday not to abandon its nuclear weapons in return for economic aid, saying the United States should first change its "hostile" policy.

The North has developed atomic bombs for its own defence, "not to threaten anybody or receive economic favours or rewards", the official Korean Central News Agency said.

It is a "misjudgement" if the outside world thinks it will dump nuclear bombs in return for economic benefits, the agency added.

"Unless (the US) terminates its hostile policy and nuclear threats towards our republic, our abandonment of nuclear weapons will not happen even if the earth breaks."

Diplomatic efforts have intensified to bring the communist state back to six-nation nuclear disarmament talks, and there have been reports that China is offering aid as an inducement.

Chinese and North Korean negotiators held several days of talks in Beijing last week about restarting the forum, which the North quit last April.

The two sides also discussed possible economic assistance, South Korea`s Yonhap news agency has reported.

But media reports said Pyongyang refused to ease its terms for coming back: a lifting of sanctions and a US commitment to discuss a formal peace treaty.

Some analysts believe the North will eventually feel obliged to return to negotiations given its worsening economy and acute food shortages.

Yonhap said this week that Beijing is discussing a deal under which it would help Pyongyang obtain more than USD 10 billion in investment from Chinese banks and multinational firms.

Some South Korean officials have cast doubt on the reported size of the deal, given the limited capacity of the North`s ailing economy.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, February 19, 2010 - 12:48

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