NEW YORK — North Korea vowed Wednesday to strengthen its nuclear weapons stockpile in order to deter a US and South Korean military buildup in the region.
Speaking before the United Nations Wednesday, North Korea's Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Pak Kil Yon said Pyongyang is, however, ready to join nuclear nonproliferation efforts in its capacity as a nuclear weapon state.
"As long as the U.S. nuclear aircraft carriers sail around the seas of our country, our nuclear deterrent can never be abandoned but be should be strengthened further," Pak said. "This is the lesson we have drawn."
Pak defended Pyongyang's development of nuclear weapons, saying it has succeeded in preventing the Korean peninsula from being "turned into a war field scores of times."
He insisted that North Korea's stockpile of atomic weapons was exclusively for the purposes of self-defense and that his country hoped to abide by international treaties governing their use.