UK & World News
North Korea: Kim Jong-Un Official Speaks
A senior North Korean diplomat has told Sky News that the United States is to blame for the tense situation on the Korean peninsula but relations between the two countries could be "normalised" if Washington gave up its "hostile policy".
In an unprecedented interview, North Korea's ambassador to the UK Hyun Hak-bong also urged South Korea to cancel an upcoming joint military exercise with the US.
"It is high time for South Korea to cancel or to stop the military exercises. And it is advisable for the international community to try hard to prevent such a kind of dangerous military exercises," Ambassador Hyun said.
But he was not willing to predict how North Korea might respond if the exercise did go ahead.
He said: "It is not helpful for the United States to remain in South Korea.
"The US makes the situation tense all the time by bringing in military equipment and disrupts peace on the peninsula by pursuing hostile policies and threatening the DPR Korea with nuclear weapons.
"So I don't think the US is helpful unless it abandons its hostile policy towards DPR Korea."
The interview follows an open letter sent by Pyongyang to Seoul. The letter calls for "realistic measures to prevent impending nuclear disasters with concerted efforts of the Korean nation".
The United States has insisted that North Korea stop all production of nuclear weapons before peace talks can begin again.
But the ambassador suggested that was not a step that his country was willing to take in the current climate.
He said: "DPR Korea has no option but to have the nuclear deterrent in order to defend the sovereignty of the country and in order to save the security and peace on the Korean peninsula as well as the lives of the people."
The Ambassador also explained in more detail than previously heard, the process behind the execution of Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Un's uncle.
He said: "Well Jang Song Thaek did lots of crimes. He made anti-party, anti-government crimes, and as well he abused his power in hindering the national economy and hindering the efforts of the national economy and for improving people's living standards.
"He spent 4.6 million euro in 2009 alone. He made tremendous crimes against the government, against the people, against the country."
"Actually our party pardoned him on several occasions when he made wrong-doings in the past, but this time his crimes is beyond the level, is beyond the red line.
"So they enlarged a meeting of the party and handed (him) over to the legal system. So the special Military Court of the Ministry of State Security put him on trial, he confessed to what he did wrong and according to article 60 of the Criminal Code of DPR Korea he was executed."
"According to the laws by the criminal court he was sentenced to death. Well he was shot to death."
I challenged Ambassador Hyun to confirm the fate of the uncle's family after recent reports suggested they too might have been executed, along with anyone else loyal to the former General.
"This is the political propaganda by our enemies," he replied.
"I think that this fabricated report does not deserve my comment. I know he was punished but if his family were punished or not, I don't know."
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