SEOUL—North Korea said on Tuesday it wouldn’t consider rolling back its nuclear-weapons program in order to initiate dialogue with the U.S., rebuffing recent outreach from Washington intended to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula.
In a statement attributed to a spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry and published by its state news agency, North Korea said the origin of the current escalation of tensions was the imposition of sanctions in response to its December satellite launch.
The launch was widely seen as a move to test long-range missile technology.
Subsequent military drills in South Korea, including displays of nuclear-capable bombers by the U.S., meant North Korea “keenly felt the need to bolster up its nuclear deterrence,” the statement said.
The North also Tuesday delivered a fresh threat to Seoul, saying it would attack South Korea without warning if anti-North activities continued in the South. “Our retaliatory action will start without any notice from now,” the North’s army supreme command said in a separate statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
Pyongyang’s ire was directed at a small protest in Seoul on Monday—the birthday of Kim Il Sung and the North’s biggest holiday—at which demonstrators burned portraits of Mr. Kim, the North’s founder, as well as his son Kim Jong Il and grandson Kim Jong Eun, the current leader.
The two statements came after a lull in rhetoric from the North over the past two days as the media devoted itself to lauding Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994.
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