North Korea rejects Donald Trump’s call for nuclear talks, as images emerge of 'ballistic submarine' under construction
Romeo-class submarine being overhauled in dry-dockCREDIT: DIGITALGLOBE/SCAPEWARE3D
North Korea has rejected Donald Trump’s call for talks over its nuclear programme just days after the US president completed his high-profile to Asia. Han Tae Song, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said that negotiations would not happen while America continued “war games” in the region. The snub occurred as new satellite images suggested North Korea is pursuing an “aggressive schedule” to build its first operational ballistic missile submarine.
The developments mark a double setback for Mr Trump, who is seeking a breakthrough inZthe stand-off over North Korea after rallying support for his approach in Asia.
However speaking to Reuters, Mr Han rejected the proposal and criticised America for carrying out joint military practices with South Korea.
“As long as there is continuous hostile policy against my country by the US and as long as there are continued war games at our doorstep, then there will not be negotiations,” Mr Han said. "There are continued military exercises using nuclear assets as well as aircraft carriers, and strategic bombers and then...raising such kinds of military exercises against my country.”
Mr Han said North Korea’s nuclear programme was about protection, saying: "This is the deterrent, the nuclear deterrent to cope with the nuclear threat from America."
He also claimed Mr Trump drive for tighter sanctions was to “overthrow” the regime by “isolating” it and creating a “humanitarian disaster”.
China has contested Mr Trump’s claim that a “freeze for freeze” proposal – where North Korea stops its nuclear development and America ends its military war games – was off the table.
Meanwhile 38 North, a Washington-based project that monitors North Korea, said that satellite images indicate the regime is aggressively pursuing a ballistic missile submarine.
The images captured activity at North Korea's Sinpo South Shipyard on November 5."The presence of what appear to be sections of a submarine's pressure hull in the yards suggests construction of a new submarine, possibly the SINPO-C ballistic missile submarine - the follow-on to the current SINPO-class experimental ballistic missile submarine,"
38 North said in a report.The report said that throughout 2017 there had been continued movement of parts and components into and out of two parts yards adjacent to the constructions halls in the center of the shipyard.It said the November 5 images showed two large circular objects that could be sections of a submarine's pressure hull. It said these appeared larger than those for North Korea's ROMEO-class attack submarine.Images of a test stand indicated continued testing of a mechanism for ejection launch of missiles from a submarine. However, the report said no activity could be seen suggesting preparations for a new test of a submarine-launched missile.North Korea has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States, sparking a major international crisis in which U.S. President Donald Trump has said that all options are under consideration, including military ones.North Korea is also thought to be working on a solid-fuel missile for submarine launches.Last month, The Diplomat magazine quoted a U.S. government source as saying U.S. military intelligence had detected a new diesel-electric submarine under construction at Sinpo and dubbed it the Sinpo-C. It said the submarine was likely a larger successor to North Korea's single experimental ballistic missile submarine.