Although the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was withdrawing from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), it had no intention of producing nuclear weapons or using its nuclear technology for anything other than peaceful purposes, such as generating electricity, that country's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Pak Gil Yon, told correspondents this morning at a Headquarters press conference.
His Government declared its withdrawal from the Treaty, effective on 11 January, in Pyongyang this morning. In doing so, it also declared itself free from the binding force of the Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
It was the United States, he said, which wrecked peace and security on the Korean peninsula and drove the situation there to an extremely dangerous phase. Instigated by the United States, the IAEA had adopted a resolution on 6 January terming his country a criminal and demanding that it scrap what the United States called a nuclear programme.
Following the adoption of the resolution, he continued, the Agency's Director-General issued an ultimatum, by which the Agency would bring the matter to the Security Council to apply sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic, unless it implemented the resolution in a few weeks. That clearly proved that the Agency remained a "servant" for the United States and that the NPT was being used as a tool for implementing United States policy towards his country.
If the United States dropped its hostile policy and stopped its nuclear threat, his country was willing, through a separate verification mechanism between the Democratic People's Republic and the United States, to prove that it was not making nuclear weapons.
Asked to characterize the atmosphere on the Korean peninsula, Mr. Pak said that it was peaceful. Due to the behaviour of the United States, however, the situation was becoming worse. As for the offer of the United States to hold talks, he said that he had not heard such an offer through official channels, but only through the media. His Government had consistently maintained that the nuclear issue on the peninsula should be resolved peacefully through negotiations between the Democratic People's Republic and the United States.
Asked why the Democratic People's Republic was withdrawing from the NPT if it was only going to pursue a nuclear programme for peaceful purposes, Mr. Pak replied that the withdrawal followed nuclear threats from the United States. By the Democratic People's Republic of Korea-United States Joint Statement of 11 June 1993 and the Agreed Framework concluded one year later, the United States had committed not to make any nuclear threats against his country. However, in reality, the United States had systematically violated those commitments.
In response to a question on how his country would react if the Security Council took up the issue and imposed sanctions on his country, he said that such an imposition of sanctions would be considered a declaration of war.
Asked why he decided to send his Deputy Permanent Representative and another diplomat to New Mexico to meet with Bill Richardson, he noted that the visit was upon the invitation of Mr. Richardson.