MANILA, Philippines – The Latest on the diplomatic crisis over North Korea (all times local) :8:00 p.m.
North Korean’s top diplomat says “under no circumstances” will it put its nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles on the negotiating table.
Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho also says that his country has no intention of using nuclear weapons against any country “except the U.S.” He says the only way that would change is if another country joined in an American action against North Korea.
Ri had been scheduled to hold a news conference in Manila, Philippines, where Asian diplomats are gathered for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Instead, Ri’s spokesman handed reporters a copy of a speech that Ri had given at the meeting.
Ri says in the speech that responsibility for the Korean Peninsula crisis lies solely with Washington. He says the North is “ready to teach the U.S. a severe lesson with its nuclear strategic force.”
Armed with extraordinary new U.N. sanctions, nations are racing to ensure that North Korea’s biggest trading partners actually carry them out, an elusive task that has undercut past attempts to strong-arm Pyongyang into abandoning its nuclear weapons.
President Donald Trump is demanding full and speedy implementation of the new penalties. But his top diplomat is also laying out a narrow path for the North to return to negotiations.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says if the North stops testing missiles for an “extended period,” the U.S. might deem North Korea ready to talk. But he says it won’t be a matter of a mere 30-day pause leading to the U.S. being willing to talk.
Tillerson says, “We’ll know it when we see it.”