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Pyongyang lashes out at ASEM statement, criticizes U.S. hegemony attempt

All News 10:29 July 18, 2016

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's foreign ministry on Monday lashed out at the recent Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) for issuing a statement that condemned its nuclear and missile programs, calling the move a "reckless act" that further escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

In response to a question from a reporter with the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said that the United States is the main culprit fueling the possibility of nuclear war breaking out on the Korean Peninsula. The official said Washington's actions will eventually affect global peace and stability.

"Raising chances of a conflict on the Korean peninsula, the U.S. continues to carry out joint military drills and brings nuclear-powered submarines, bombers and other strategic weapons, including the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, into South Korea," the spokesman said.

In self-defense, the North is on the path to obtaining a strong nuclear deterrent to fight against nuclear threats from the U.S. and its policies that aim to alienate the two Koreas, he said. The official said in the KCNA report that "we are determined to continue to fight to achieve a full scale of self-defense and to grow into a nuclear power."

In the ASEM summit held in Ulaanbaaar, Mongolia, Friday and Saturday, participating leaders adopted a chairman's statement that strongly condemned North Korea's development of nuclear arms and missiles and called for the full-scale enforcement of U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions against the communist North.

Meanwhile, North Korea also criticized the vice foreign ministers' meeting between South Korea, the U.S. and Japan held in Hawaii on July 14 to discuss pending issues surrounding the Korean peninsula.

In a separate statement released on Sunday, the North Korean foreign ministry said, "the world is on the threshold of a new Cold War because the U.S. is building up its military power on the Korean peninsula with support from its puppet countries."

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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