…saying that his country was determined to rebuild its economy in the face of international sanctions while simultaneously expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal, which the ruling party called “the nation’s life.”…
But a growing number of analysts also say that North Korea seems to have no intention of giving up its nuclear arms. “The enemies are using both blackmail, telling us that we cannot achieve economic development unless we give up nuclear weapons, and appeasement, saying that they will help us live well if we choose a different path,” Mr. Kim was quoted as saying during the meeting on Sunday.…
On Sunday, officials at the plenary meeting made that stance formal, adopting a statement calling the North’s nuclear weapons a “treasure” that will not be traded for “billions of dollars,” because they “represent the nation’s life, which can never be abandoned as long as imperialists and nuclear threats exist on earth.
Both President Obama and his national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, have recently urged Mr. Kim to learn from Myanmar, where changes initiated by new leaders have resulted in billions in debt forgiveness, large-scale development assistance and an influx of foreign investment. It North Korea continues on its current path, they said, it will face more sanctions and deeper isolation.
American and South Korean officials still hope they can persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons through sanctions and diplomacy, especially if China agrees to use its economic leverage with the North. Many regional analysts and officials have suggested that the North’s recent strident language, including threats to attack the United States and South Korea with nuclear weapons, is intended not only to solidify Mr. Kim’s military credentials at home but also to draw the United States back to the negotiating table.
- North Korea Threatens to Close Factories It Runs With South(March 31, 2013)
- Pyongyang Blusters, and U.S. Worries About Quieter Risks(March 30, 2013)
- Global Powers Cast Wary Eye as Korean Tension Escalates (March 30, 2013)