The top North Korean decision-making body issued a pointed warning on Sunday, saying that nuclear weapons are “the nation’s life” and will not be traded even for “billions of dollars”.
The comments came in a statement released after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over the plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling Workers’ Party.
The meeting, which set a “new strategic line”, calling for building both a stronger economy and nuclear arsenal, comes a day after Pyongyang’s warning that the Korean Peninsula was in a “state of war”.
Analysts see a full-scale North Korean attack as unlikely and say that the threats are more likely efforts to provoke softer policies from a new government in Seoul; to win diplomatic talks with Washington that could get the North more aid; and to solidify Mr. Kim’s image and military credentials at home.
North Korea made reference to those outside views in the statement it released through the official Korean Central News Agency following the plenary meeting.
The nuclear weapons are a “treasure” not to be traded for “billions of dollars”, the statement said. They “are neither a political bargaining chip nor a thing for economic dealings to be presented to the place of dialogue or be put on the table of negotiations aimed at forcing [Pyongyang] to disarm itself”, it said.
North Korea’s “nuclear armed forces represent the nation’s life, which can never be abandoned as long as the imperialists and nuclear threats exist on earth”, the statement said.