North Korea to ASEAN: Be impartial, practical on denuclearization issue

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 8) — The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), or North Korea, has assured the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) it will be a "responsible nuclear power" and will pose no threat to other countries — unless they join forces with the United States.

During the ASEAN Regional Forum — the only remaining international forum North Korea sits in outside of the United Nations — the reclusive state aired its side and urged the bloc to be "impartial and practical" in the decades-long standoff.

"We have no intention to use nuclear weapons or threaten with nuclear weapons against any other country except the U.S., unless it joins military action of the U.S. against [us]," North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said through a statement released on Monday.

The statement added its possession of ICBMs and nuclear weapons was "a legitimate option for self defense."

"We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on negotiating table," Ri added.

"Neither shall we flinch even an inch from the road to bolstering up the nuclear forces chosen by ourselves, unless the hostile policy and nuclear threat of the U.S. against the DPRK are fundamentally eliminated."

The U.S. has been conducting military exercises with South Korea in waters surrounding the Korean peninsula.

The hermit state also claimed the newly approved sanctions by the United Nations (UN) Security Council were part of a U.S. plot.

Read: North Korea vows to 'make the US pay dearly' as sanctions tighten

"The U.S. rigged up several 'sanctions resolutions' against the DPRK at the UN Security Council, thus disguising the issue as one between the DPRK and UN," the statement read.

It also added that the Council's labeling of DPRK activity as a threat to international peace and security was "an illegal act of abusing the authority (sic)."

The Council voted unanimously on August 5 to impose new sanctions on Pyongyang, targeting exports such as coal, iron, lead, and seafood among others. However, among those who favored the decision was the North Korean ally China.

North Korea also claimed "no other country in the world was more transparent" about the development of their nuclear weapons.

It added that Japan and South Korea "kowtowed blindly" to the U.S.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told the media on Monday evening that the issues on North Korea and the South China Sea garnered lengthy statements from ministers during the ARF.

"Those countries who are in the same position as ours, as well as the countries that had a slightly different position — we had a very heated discussion," Kono said.

He also said Ri spoke before he did in the order of statements.

"Unfortunately, it was not that North Korea responded to my statement. That was not the case at all," said Kono.

The minister remarked that he did not recognize if the representative was indeed Ri, but he "half-directed [the statement] towards the North Korean delegation's seat."

ASEAN Foreign Ministers on Saturday released a statement urging North Korea to "immediately comply fully" with the UN Security Council resolutions. However, it fell short of isolating the country entirely from the forum, as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had initially suggested.

Related: North Korea to remain in ASEAN Regional Forum

Australia, Japan, and the U.S. also urged ASEAN member states "to maximize pressure on North Korea."

Related: Japan to ASEAN: Pressure North Korea to denuclearize

The ASEAN Foreign Ministers' statement was presented to North Korea by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano earlier on Monday.

"The statement was not borne out of lost friendship but is because of frustration that there seems to be no opening for discussions or dialogue to address the impasse on the issues in the Korean Peninsula," Cayetano told Ri according to a press statement.

CNN Philippines Correspondent JC Gotinga contributed to this report.