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North Korea says it won't give up arms modernization

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea accused the United Kingdom, France and Germany on Thursday of meddling in its "self-defensive measures for arms modernization," saying the West will make "no greater mistake" than thinking Pyongyang will give up its right to have weapons that it says are needed to ensure peace.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency circulated a statement from Kim Son Gyong, an adviser at the Korea-Europe Association, in response to a joint statement Tuesday from the three important U.S. allies condemning Pyongyang's "repeated provocative launches" of ballistic missiles.

The Europeans accused North Korea of violating U.N. sanctions and urged leader Kim Jong Un to engage with the United States and make progress on denuclearization, which they said is "the only way to guarantee security and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the region."

The North Korean statement said defending national security has become more important after seeing countries "whose destinies were hacked to pieces by the Western powers" and which yielded to Western demands "for disarmament under the pressure and appeasement of 'international society.'"

The statement dismissed U.N. resolutions, saying they "trample the rights to self-defense and survival of the sovereign state, and accordingly, we have never acknowledged them." Stressing the importance of being able to defend North Korea's security, the statement cited the current state of international relations "where the weak can hardly appeal to anybody, though attacked by the strong."

It said the United Kingdom, France and Germany have no standing to criticize any party because their pursuit of money as led them "to sell their military equipment to South Korea, though habitually saying that they want peace and security on the Korean peninsula."

The statement said the Europeans are picking "an unreasonable quarrel with us over our measures for developing conventional weapons while deliberately turning their faces away from the military exercises and the introduction of latest lethal weapons in South Korea."

North Korea wants relations with European countries "on good terms," the statement said, and the UK, France and Germany "should get rid of their rigid and prejudiced way of thinking and help to ease tensions and ensure peace on the Korean peninsula."

The three European countries stressed in their statement that "international sanctions must remain in place and be fully and strictly enforced until North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs are dismantled."

Many diplomats and analysts credit 11 rounds of increasingly tougher U.N. sanctions, which have sharply cut North Korea's exports and imports, with helping promote the thaw in relations between North Korea and South Korea, and the two summits between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

But negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea have been at a standstill since the second Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi in February broke down over what the United States described as excessive North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for only a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.

The statement by the U.S. allies was not joined by the United States or other members of the 15-nation Security Council and it was at odds with Trump's comments playing down the recent missile tests.

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