North Korea says 'pipe dream' it will end nuclear weapons program

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The South Korean Defense Ministry is creating a new bureau dedicated to monitoring and countering the threat from North Korea, according to a government news release.

In a bid to further choke North Korea's external sources of funding, Friday's resolution also calls for banning North Korean exports of food products, machinery, electrical equipment, earth and stone, covering items such as magnesite and magnesia, wood, and vessels. "For more than 25 years, it has pursued nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in defiance of every commitment it has made".

United States diplomats have made clear they are seeking a diplomatic solution but proposed the new, tougher sanctions resolution to ratchet up pressure on North Korea's leader.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman defended North Korea's right to possess nuclear weapons as necessary "to defend our sovereignty and rights to existence and development in the face of ever increased hostile moves and nuclear threats and blackmail of the U.S".

"If the United States wishes to live safely, it must abandon its hostile policy towards the DPRK and learn to co-exist with the country that has nuclear weapons and should wake up from its pipe dream of our country giving up nuclear weapons which we have developed and completed through all kinds of hardships", said the statement, carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

"North Korea is forecast to maximise efforts to endure (the impact of sanctions) by tightening social control and mobilising its people for building the economy", the ministry said. "The case of North Korea is getting more serious with each passing day".

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"With these things it's hard to know what's just painting lipstick on a pig", said John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University's Graduate School of International Relations in Seoul.

China, with which North Korea does some 90 percent of its trade, has repeatedly called for calm and restraint from all sides.

But the significance of mentioning of inter-Korean cooperation, especially with regards to both countries' armed forces, may be more political than military, Delury noted.

Ambassador Park Chull-joo, participating as an observer since South Korea is not now a member of the Security Council, said, "However narrow and bumpy it may be, the road toward peaceful denuclearization through dialogue is still open and available".

It added that the ministry will closely watch North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's New Year address on January 1 to see if it alludes to such possibilities.