The international fallout continues following North Korea’s two long-range, ballistic-missile tests last month.
Over the weekend, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted new sanctions on the country.
North Korean exports of coal, iron and even seafood will be banned, potentially cutting its $3 billion annual export revenue by one-third.
The United Nations agreed to the sanctions in a bid to pressure North Korea to end its nuclear program.
But speaking on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila, North Korean spokesman Bang Kwang Hyuk was emphatic that will not happen.
“We affirmed that we’ll never place our nuclear and ballistic-missiles program on the negotiating table and won’t budge an inch on strengthening nuclear armament.”
Bang Kwang Hyuk then took aim at the United States, blaming it for the current state of affairs.
“Is our nuclear possession a threat to the world, or is it just a threat to the United States? We want to make it clear that the worsening situation on the Korean Peninsula, as well as the nuclear issues, were caused by the United States.”
In a statement, North Korea’s foreign minister added the United States would, as he put it, “pay dearly” for the sanctions.
He also insisted his country has no intention of using nuclear weapons against any other country except the United States.
South Korea says the North has also rejected an offer to restart talks, dismissing the offer as “insincere.”
The United States is now moving to break the stand-off.
Secretary of state Rex Tillerson says he believes the United States and North Korea can have dialogue when conditions are right.
“Well, the best signal that North Korea could give us that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches. You know, we’ve not had an extended period of time where they have not taken some type of provocative action by launching ballistic missiles. So, I think that would be the first and strongest signal they could send us is just stop … stop these missile launches. Obviously, we have other means of communication open to them to, certainly, hear from them if they have a desire to want to talk.”
China has expressed hope North and South Korea could resume contact soon.
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi says he personally gave his North Korean counterpart a message to stop the ballistic-missile launches.
“The international community has told North Korea to abandon its development of nuclear warheads and to maintain the international-proliferation regime. This is a security issue. The North Korean side believes it has been threatened and pressured militarily, which is also a security issue. So, the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is not an economic issue but a security issue.”
US president Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, have also addressed North Korea in a telephone call.
The pair agreed to apply maximum pressure and sanctions on North Korea.