SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said Tuesday that it’s not interested in an Iran-type nuclear disarmament deal, saying it won’t abandon its atomic weapons as long as the United States maintains hostile policies toward the country.
The North’s nuclear deterrent is “not a plaything to be put on the negotiating table,” an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. It was the country’s first official response to the Iran nuclear accord reached earlier this month.
North Korea’s nuclear program is a major regional concern, with the country having conducted atomic weapons tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013. International nuclear disarmament talks have been stalled since early 2009, and outside analysts believe the North has built a small but growing nuclear bomb arsenal.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman said North Korea is different from Iran because it already has nuclear weapons. He said the North faces constant military and nuclear threats from the U.S., citing its regular military exercises with South Korea.