SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea's media on Saturday threatened "1,000-fold" military buildup as the United States ruled out lifting sanctions to try to coax Pyongyang into resuming talks aimed at its nuclear weapons programs.
Last year, North Korea quit the nuclear disarmament talks and later tested an atomic device that drew tightened UN sanctions. But the North has recently expressed willingness to rejoin the negotiations, which include the US, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia.
North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said this week that his country will not return to the disarmament-for-aid talks unless sanctions are lifted, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley responded Friday that sanctions exist because North Korea consistently has failed to live up to its international obligations. "We have no intention of removing those sanctions as an enticement for dialogue," he told reporters.
Saturday's Minju Joson newspaper, part of North Korea's state-controlled media, said in a commentary that the country's war deterrent force will be strengthened "100- or 1,000-fold" as long as the US military threat persists, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.