Seoul: A top North Korean decision-making body issued a pointed warning today, saying that nuclear weapons are "the nation`s life" and will not be traded even for "billions of dollars."
The comments came in a statement released after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presided over the plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling Workers` Party.
The meeting, which set a "new strategic line" calling for building both a stronger economy and nuclear arsenal, comes amid a series of near-daily threats from Pyongyang in recent weeks, including a vow to launch nuclear strikes on the United States and a warning Saturday that the Korean Peninsula was in a "state of war."
Pyongyang is angry over annual US-South Korean military drills and a new round of UN sanctions that followed its February 12 nuclear test, the country`s third.
Analysts see a full-scale North Korean attack as unlikely and say the threats are more likely efforts to provoke softer policies toward Pyongyang from a new government in Seoul, to win diplomatic talks with Washington that could get the North more aid, and to solidify the young North Korean leader`s image and military credentials at home.
North Korea made reference to those outside views in the statement it released through the official Korean Central News Agency following the plenary meeting.
North Korea`s nuclear weapons are a "treasure" not to be traded for "billions of dollars," the statement said. They "are neither a political bargaining chip nor a thing for economic dealings to be presented to the place of dialogue or be put on the table of negotiations aimed at forcing (Pyongyang) to disarm itself," it said.
North Korea`s "nuclear armed forces represent the nation`s life, which can never be abandoned as long as the imperialists and nuclear threats exist on earth," the statement said.
North Korea has called the US nuclear arsenal a threat to its existence since the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula still technically at war. Pyongyang justifies its own nuclear pursuit in large part on that perceived US threat.