SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said nuclear weapons rather than negotiating skills secured what he described as a “landmark” agreement this week with South Korea to end a dangerous military standoff.
Chairing a meeting of the Central Military Commission, Kim credited the North with securing the deal which had put the rival Koreas back on the path of “reconciliation and trust”, the North’s official KCNA news agency said Friday.
The agreement reached after marathon day-night talks in the border truce village of Panmunjom, pulled both sides back from the brink of an armed conflict and committed them to starting an official dialogue.
But Kim made it clear that sitting down to talks would not entail North Korea discussing the end of its nuclear weapons programme, which the young leader said was key to maintaining peace in the first place.
The Panmunjom agreement “was by no means something achieved on the negotiating table but thanks to the tremendous military muscle with the nuclear deterrent for self-defence”, Kim told the meeting.
He underscored the need to channel “top priority efforts” into strengthening North Korea’s military capability further.
But he also stressed the opportunity offered by the deal with the South, calling it a “crucial landmark occasion” that could open a new period for inter-Korean relations.