'NK will not give up nuclear science'

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'NK will not give up nuclear science'

By Yi Whan-woo

North Korea will not give up its nuclear science even in the event of denuclearization, the country's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said, according to Iranian media reports.

Speaking in Tehran, Thursday, Ri speculated the U.S. will remain hostile toward North Korea even after their leaders held a summit in June and said his country needs a safeguard.

Ri, who arrived in Iran on Tuesday, made his remarks as Pyongyang and Washington accuse each other of dragging their feet in implementing the agreement reached at the summit on the North's denuclearization.

His remarks also came after the government of U.S. President Donald Trump issued a fresh round of nuclear sanctions against Iran, Tuesday.

The Trump administration previously broke the 2015 nuclear deal among Iran and the six major powers _ the U.S., China, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and Germany. The Tuesday sanctions heightened Iran's distrust toward the U.S. nuclear policy.

"Although North Korea has agreed on disarmament to deliver on its commitments in negotiations with the U.S. we will preserve our nuclear science as we know the Americans will not abandon their hostility toward us," Ri was quoted as saying by Iran's Mehr News Agency during a meeting with Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani in Tehran. "Dealing with Americans is difficult and as our main goal is total disarmament of the whole Korean Peninsula, it is necessary that the Americans also abide by their commitments but they refuse to do so."

Larijani criticized the U.S. as well.

"The Americans utter beautiful words when negotiating and promise a very bright future but they deliver on none of their commitments," he told Ri.

In a separate meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rohani, Wednesday, Ri said Washington's pullout from the 2015 pact and restoration of sanctions was an "action against international rules and regulations."

Rohani warned Ri that the current U.S. administration is "untrustworthy and unreliable," and it "does not meet any of its obligations."

Ri traveled to Iran after participating in the ASEAN Regional Forum, a multinational security meeting in Singapore, where he sparred with the U.S. Secretary of State over the slow pace of denuclearization progress.

Washington insists on maintaining sanctions on Pyongyang and asks the latter to take steps to dismantle its nuclear arsenal, before declaring the official end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Referring to its recent repatriation of the remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the North during the Korean War as mentioned in the June summit agreement, North Korea says it kept its promise and the U.S. should reciprocate accordingly.

Diplomatic sources were divided over the reasons behind Ri's visit to Tehran.

Some say it should be seen as Pyongyang's routine efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties with its few remaining allies. Others claim North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wants to learn from Iran's case to better cope with negotiations with the U.S.

"Kim is trying to expand diplomatic activities in preparation for the 70th founding anniversary of the country on Sept. 9," a source said. "Inviting dignitaries from Iran, one of its oldest allies, will be important for successful anniversary commemoration. And Ri's visit is believed to be centered on bolstering bilateral relations."

Koh You-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University, said Ri's Iran trip may be a chance to learn thoroughly about the background of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Washington's pullout from the deal and Iran's response.

Kim Dong-yup, a professor at Kyungnam University's Far East Institute speculated the trip shows North Korea's determination and confidence to not be swayed by the U.S.


By Yi Whan-woo

North Korea will not give up its nuclear science even in the event of denuclearization, the country's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said, according to Iranian media reports.

Speaking in Tehran, Thursday, Ri speculated the U.S. will remain hostile toward North Korea even after their leaders held a summit in June and said his country needs a safeguard.

Ri, who arrived in Iran on Tuesday, made his remarks as Pyongyang and Washington accuse each other of dragging their feet in implementing the agreement reached at the summit on the North's denuclearization.

His remarks also came after the government of U.S. President Donald Trump issued a fresh round of nuclear sanctions against Iran, Tuesday.

The Trump administration previously broke the 2015 nuclear deal among Iran and the six major powers _ the U.S., China, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and Germany. The Tuesday sanctions heightened Iran's distrust toward the U.S. nuclear policy.

"Although North Korea has agreed on disarmament to deliver on its commitments in negotiations with the U.S. we will preserve our nuclear science as we know the Americans will not abandon their hostility toward us," Ri was quoted as saying by Iran's Mehr News Agency during a meeting with Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani in Tehran. "Dealing with Americans is difficult and as our main goal is total disarmament of the whole Korean Peninsula, it is necessary that the Americans also abide by their commitments but they refuse to do so."

Larijani criticized the U.S. as well.

"The Americans utter beautiful words when negotiating and promise a very bright future but they deliver on none of their commitments," he told Ri.

In a separate meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rohani, Wednesday, Ri said Washington's pullout from the 2015 pact and restoration of sanctions was an "action against international rules and regulations."

Rohani warned Ri that the current U.S. administration is "untrustworthy and unreliable," and it "does not meet any of its obligations."

Ri traveled to Iran after participating in the ASEAN Regional Forum, a multinational security meeting in Singapore, where he sparred with the U.S. Secretary of State over the slow pace of denuclearization progress.

Washington insists on maintaining sanctions on Pyongyang and asks the latter to take steps to dismantle its nuclear arsenal, before declaring the official end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Referring to its recent repatriation of the remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the North during the Korean War as mentioned in the June summit agreement, North Korea says it kept its promise and the U.S. should reciprocate accordingly.

Diplomatic sources were divided over the reasons behind Ri's visit to Tehran.

Some say it should be seen as Pyongyang's routine efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties with its few remaining allies. Others claim North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wants to learn from Iran's case to better cope with negotiations with the U.S.

"Kim is trying to expand diplomatic activities in preparation for the 70th founding anniversary of the country on Sept. 9," a source said. "Inviting dignitaries from Iran, one of its oldest allies, will be important for successful anniversary commemoration. And Ri's visit is believed to be centered on bolstering bilateral relations."

Koh You-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University, said Ri's Iran trip may be a chance to learn thoroughly about the background of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Washington's pullout from the deal and Iran's response.

Kim Dong-yup, a professor at Kyungnam University's Far East Institute speculated the trip shows North Korea's determination and confidence to not be swayed by the U.S.


Yi Whan-woo yistory@koreatimes.co.kr


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