US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her South Korean counterpart vowed on Thursday to support efforts to maintain a strong deterrence against North Korea and achieve its denuclearization.
A joint statement was issued after Pelosi met South Korea's National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo in Seoul, during which they expressed concerns over the North's evolving nuclear and missile threats.
Pelosi arrived in South Korea late on Wednesday following a brief stop in Taiwan and met US embassy officials in Seoul earlier on Thursday before talks with Kim and other lawmakers.
Later on Thursday, Pelosi plans to visit the Joint Security Area near the heavily fortified inter-Korean border, patrolled together by American-led UN Command and North Korea, a South Korean official said.
She would be the highest-level US official to visit the area after former President Donald Trump, who met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un there in 2019.
South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Thursday that Pelosi's planned visit to the heavily fortified inter-Korean border area reflects strong deterrence against North Korea, media outlet News1 reported.
North Korea said it will "never tolerate" US accusation of its nuclear program
North Korea warned it will "never tolerate" the United States' criticism of the isolated country's nuclear program, calling Washington the "kingpin of nuclear proliferation" and saying it would not allow any encroachment of its sovereign rights.
North Korea has conducted missile tests at an unprecedented pace this year and international experts believe it is readying its seventh nuclear test, the first since 2017.
The North's permanent mission to the United Nations issued the statement on Wednesday as diplomats gathered in New York for a month-long UN conference to review the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Read full story
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during the meeting the North "continues to expand its unlawful nuclear program" and "is preparing to conduct its seventh nuclear test."
"It is the peak of busy blaming that the United States alleges somebody's 'nuclear threats' given the fact that it is the kingpin of nuclear proliferation," North Korea said in the statement.
The North also said it pulled out of the non-proliferation treaty a long time ago, so nobody had the right to impinge on the country's right to self-defense.
"We will never tolerate any attempt by the US and its servile forces to groundlessly accuse our State and encroach upon our sovereign rights and national interests," the North said in its statement.
Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country was ready to mobilize its nuclear war deterrent and counter any US military clash.
"We will never tolerate any attempt by the US and its servile forces to groundlessly accuse our State and encroach upon our sovereign rights and national interests."North Korea
South Korea and US express concern
Parliament speakers of South Korea and the US expressed their concerns on Thursday over increasing threats posed by North Korea and agreed to support efforts to maintain strong and extended deterrence against the isolated nation
A joint statement was issued after South Korea's National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo met with US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi during her visit to Seoul.
Late Thursday night, Pelosi arrived in Japan, which earlier in the day said five Chinese ballistic missiles landed within its exclusive economic zone, part of military exercises launched by Beijing in response to her Taiwan visit.
Pelosi is scheduled to hold a breakfast meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday.