N. Korean leader vows harsh response to sanctions

Latest round of nuclear disarmament talks end without any breakthrough.

korea negotiator 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
korea negotiator 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
The North Korean army's chief of staff vowed Saturday to take strong countermeasures against US sanctions, the North's media said, after disarmament talks on the North's nuclear weapons program ended without any breakthrough. Kim Yong Chun accused the United States of demanding that North Korea unilaterally end its nuclear program while refusing to lift financial restrictions the US imposed on the regime over its alleged money laundering and counterfeiting of $100 bills. The nuclear talks - held in Beijing this week after a 13-month break due to a North Korean boycott over the US sanctions - ended Friday without an agreement to move ahead on the North's nuclear disarmament. Last year, the North pledged to disarm in exchange for security guarantees and aid. Negotiators said the North Koreans refused to talk about their nuclear weapons program until the US lifts its financial restrictions. "Sanctions and pressure will never work on us. If hostile forces continue to strengthen the maneuver of sanctions and pressure, we will sternly cope with stronger countermeasures," Kim in a speech to thousands of top government and military officials in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital. Kim didn't elaborate on what he meant by stronger countermeasures in the speech, broadcast on North Korean Central TV. North Korean nuclear envoy Kim Kye Gwan said Friday that his country would bolster its atomic arsenal in response to US pressure. "The US is taking a tactic of both dialogue and pressure, and carrots and sticks," Kim told reporters in Beijing. "We are responding with dialogue and a shield, and by a shield we are saying we will further improve our deterrent."