North Korea announced on Tuesday that it has “more gift packages” in store for the United States as the uproar over its test of a hydrogen bomb continued to ripple.
Han Tae Song, ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the UN in Geneva, said: “The recent self-defense measures by my country, DPRK, are a ‘gift package’ addressed to none other than the US.”
He was addressing the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament two days after his country detonated its sixth nuclear test explosion.
“I am proud of saying that just two days ago on the 3rd of September, DPRK successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test for intercontinental ballistic rocket under its plan for building a strategic nuclear force,” Han told the Geneva forum.
“The US will receive more ‘gift packages’ from my country as long as its relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK,” he added without elaborating.
Military measures being taken by North Korea were “an exercise of restraint and justified self-defense right” to counter “the ever-growing and decade-long US nuclear threat and hostile policy aimed at isolating my country”.
“Pressure or sanctions will never work on my country,” Han declared, adding: “The DPRK will never under any circumstances put its nuclear deterrence on the negotiating table.”
US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood said that North Korea had defied the international community once again with its test.
“It can no longer be business as usual with this regime.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday he is open to all forms of talks with North Korea, but now is not the time for dialogue.
Moon was speaking in an interview with Russia’s TASS news agency in Russia a day ahead of his summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum which kicks off on Wednesday.
South Korean officials believe more weapons tests by Pyongyang are possible, despite international outrage over Sunday’s nuclear test and calls for more sanctions against it.
Seoul said on Tuesday an agreement with the United States to scrap a weight limit on its warheads would help it respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat.
Furthermore, South Korea is talking to the United States about deploying aircraft carriers and strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula, and has been ramping up its own defenses.
Trump and Moon agreed on Monday to scrap a warhead weight limit on South Korea’s missiles, South Korea’s presidential office said, enabling it to strike North Korea with greater force in the event of war.
South Korean warships conducted live-fire exercises at sea on Tuesday in a second straight day of military swagger from a nation still rattled by the North's biggest-ever nuclear test.
South Korean ships including a 2,500-ton frigate, a 1,000-ton patrol ship and 400-ton guided-missile vessels participated in the drills aimed at retaliating against potential North Korean provocations, the Defense Ministry said. It plans more naval drills in its southern seas through Saturday. On Monday, Seoul used F-15 fighter jets and land-based ballistic missiles to simulate an attack on North Korea's nuclear test site to "strongly warn" the North over the recent detonation.
Putin meanwhile said threats of military action against North Korea were counterproductive.
“Russia condemns North Korea’s exercises, we consider that they are a provocation,” Putin told reporters after a summit of the BRICS countries in China.
“(But) ramping up military hysteria will lead to nothing good. It could lead to a global catastrophe.
While referring to more sanctions as a “road to nowhere”, Putin said Russia was prepared to discuss “some details” around the issue. He did not elaborate.
South Korea and the United States are technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.
Both sides have thousands of rockets and artillery pieces aimed at each other across the world’s most heavily armed border, but the North’s rapid development of nuclear weapons and missiles has altered the balance, requiring a stronger response from South Korea, officials say.