North Korea: Spark could set off nuclear war
UNITED NATIONS -- A North Korean minister lashed out at the United States on Monday, saying its "hostile" policy has left the Korean peninsula a spark away from a nuclear war.
Vice Foreign Minister Pak Kil Yon told the U.N. General Assembly that the Koreas have become "the world's most dangerous hotspot" and blamed the "hostile" policy of the United States toward North Korea.
Pak said "the vicious cycle of confrontation and aggravation of tension is an ongoing phenomenon on the Korean peninsula, which has become the world's most dangerous hotspot where a spark of fire could set off a thermonuclear war."
Pak also accused the United States of seeking to use force to occupy the entire Korean peninsula -- divided between the communist North and democratic South -- and "use it as a stepping stone for realizing its strategy of dominating the whole of Asia."
He said the United States has finalized scenarios for a new Korean War and "is waiting for a chance to implement them."
In an apparent reference to North Korea's nuclear arsenal and massive military, Pak said the nation's "patience and self-defensive war deterrent," have prevented U.S. military provocations "from turning into an all-out war on the Korean peninsula."
"However, the DPRK's patience does not mean it is unlimited," he warned, using the initials of the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
While the government aims to build "a prosperous and powerful state," Pak said, the North was right to build a strong military and "war deterrent" as a "mighty weapon" to respond immediately to provocations "and confront the war of aggression with a just war of reunifying the country."
Pak warned that "not a single problem including the nuclear issue of the Korean peninsula can be resolved without the elimination of the hostile policy of the United States, which regards the DPRK as a target of hostility and tries to stifle it at any cost."
He lamented that the atmosphere of reconciliation spawned by the historic North-South summit meeting at the dawn of the new century has deteriorated to the current "worst state" of inter-Korean relations.
Nonetheless, Pak said, North Korea "will join hands with anyone who truly wants the reunification of the country and reconciliation" without interference from outside forces.