Our nuclear weapons will only be used as a ‘deterrent’: North Korean Ambassador

Ahmed Abbas
5 Min Read
The North Korean ambassador to Egypt said that his country will only use this nuclear weapon as a deterrent weapon. Asmaa Gamal

North Korean ambassador to Egypt Pak Chun Il defended his country’s recent nuclear experiment and said North Korea will never use this weapon, except as a deterrent weapon if any other country violated its sovereignty.

Pak Chun Il said in a press conference organised by Tayar Al-Istiklal (Independence Current) that owning a nuclear weapon is a fair and legal right for a country to defend itself. “No one can blame us. In today’s world, no country can defend itself except by its own power,” he said.

He said North Korea only used its own technology to develop and carry out this experiment. The alleged experiment means that the country reached a new level of owning nuclear weapons by developing a hydrogen bomb.

Pak Chun Il also said the experiment is a defence measure aiming to protect the North Korean nation. The joint military exercises carried out by both the US and South Korea were the main reason North Korea decided to develop nuclear weapons, according to the ambassador.

North Korea is trying to bring peace to the peninsula by stopping US efforts to fuel war. He said his country is ready to negotiate with South Korea, provided that “they stop their military exercises”. He said North Korea will never work to spread this technology.

North Korea has defended its decision to conduct nuclear experiments, citing the fate of the two Arab leaders, Saddam Hussein and Muamar Gaddafi. The official North Korean news agency KCNA said Friday that the fate of both of the toppled Arab leaders showed what happened when countries agree to discard their nuclear weapon ambitions.

“The Hussein regime in Iraq and the Gaddafi regime in Libya could not escape the fate of destruction after being deprived of their foundations for nuclear development and giving up nuclear programmes of their own accord,” the commentary said.

The international community condemned a report from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that they successively tested a miniaturised hydrogen nuclear device Wednesday.

If the North Korean report is confirmed, it will be the country’s first hydrogen bomb test and fourth nuclear test; the previous tests were held in 2006, 2009, and 2013.  South Korea said it measured a 4.3-magnitude seismic event that it estimates occurred in the proximity of the North Korean nuclear facilities.

Egypt expressed its concern regarding Pyongyang’s nuclear experiment, pointing out that such an act could be a new threat to nuclear non-proliferation.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson stressed the continuation of such violations will increase tension in the Korean peninsula.

Egyptian security and defence advisor Sayed Ghoniem believes North Korea now has a deterrent power against the analogous US power.

North Korea’s neighbours, especially China, consider this experiment to be a great violation to international law, which may result in exacerbation of tension in the Korean peninsula, Ghoneim said.

“After such an experiment, it is very normal for South Korea to ask the Security Council to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the consequences of the incident. Then, the 15 members, including Egypt, will consult to reach a resolution, maybe to impose sanctions on North Korea, which defied the world,” Ghoniem said.

He believes Egypt now has an opportunity to achieve some of its interests.

“Cairo has its fixed opinion regarding nuclear non-proliferation and Israel’s position towards it,” he said.

Egypt can back North Korea against the international and regional challenges, but it is concerned over the hydrogen bomb experiment.

“Egypt always expressed the importance of achieving an international nuclear non-proliferation treaty that places all nuclear programmers under the surveillance of the International Atomic Energy Agency, especially for those countries who refuse the sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), especially Israel,” he said.

Ghoniem further noted that Egypt will reject any double standards in dealing with the nuclear programmes.

North Korea withdrew from the NPT in 2003, while Israel, India, Pakistan and south Sudan did not sign the treaty.

Pyongyang is already facing sanctions over its nuclear programme since its first nuclear test in 2006. Those sanctions may be expanded if the test is confirmed. North Korea’s neighbours have also expressed concerns over the North Korea’s nuclear experiment.

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Ahmed Abbas is a journalist at DNE’s politics section. He previously worked as Egypt based reporter for Correspondents.org, and interned as a broadcast journalist at Deutsche Welle TV in Berlin. Abbas is a fellow of Salzburg Academy of Media and Global Change. He holds a Master’s Degree of Journalism and New Media from Jordan Media Institute. He was awarded by the ICFJ for best public service reporting in 2013, and by the German foreign office for best feature in 2014.
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