A North Korean government official says his country “will never stop nuclear and missile tests” as long as America continues what the North believes are “hostile acts of aggression.”
Sok Chol, who was given rare authorization to be interviewed, spoke with CNN on Wednesday and said that North Korea will conduct its sixth nuclear test as “an important part of our continued efforts to strengthen our nuclear forces.”
He stated that North Korea’s massive artillery drill on Tuesday — the 85th anniversary of North Korea’s army — was a warning to President Trump.
“This exercise is a direct response to acts of aggression by the United States,” said Sok.
The situation in the Korean Peninsula is becoming increasingly tense as the United States moves military hardware into the region. A nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Michigan arrived in a South Korean port on Tuesday, and the USS Vinson aircraft carrier is making its way to the peninsula.
On Wednesday, Congress met to review the situation in North Korea and called for tighter economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure to bring about a peaceful denuclearization.
“We remain open to negotiations towards that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies,” said a statement by Sec. of State Rex Tillerson, Sec. of Defense James Mattis, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
When Sok was asked about the three U.S. citizens being held in North Korea, he would only say they are being kept in the same conditions as other North Korean prisoners, even though they’re kept in “separate facilities.”
He called reports by defectors about inhumane North Korean prison camps — where up to 120,000 men, women, and children are believed to be kept and are reportedly tortured and even executed — lies and strongly denied wrongdoing.
He said of the defectors, “Those people are criminals who ran away. They’re paid to lie and encouraged by the U.S. and their followers.”
When asked why North Korea would not cooperate with a United Nations investigation, Sok said, “The UN wants to politicize the human rights issue … use it to interfere with our internal affairs. Their reports are nothing but fiction.”
According to Sok, for North Korea, human rights means defending the country and its dictator, Kim Jong Un, even if it means nuclear war.
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