A senior North Korean diplomat on Monday characterized the moribund multilateral negotiating process aimed at achieving his country's permanent denuclearization as "almost a dead body," the Yonhap News Agency reported.
The six-party talks encompassing China, Japan, both Koreas, Russia, and the United States have not taken place in nearly four years. Since abandoning the aid-for-denuclearization negotiations, Pyongyang has conducted its second nuclear test, unveiled a formerly secret uranium enrichment program, and made substantive headway in constructing a light-water atomic reactor that could be used as a new source of weapon-usable plutonium.
Washington, Seoul, and Beijing all favor the six-nation talks as the best option for addressing the longstanding nuclear impasse with the North.
North Korean Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Ri Tong Il told the U.N. General Assembly "the situation on the [Korean] Peninsula is on the brink of explosion and nobody knows when the war will break out."
Ri blamed the tense state of affairs on the United States' "increased hostilities" against his nation.
He also emphasized that Pyongyang had pulled out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and is no longer bound by International Atomic Energy Agency measures. He insisted the U.N. nuclear watchdog "blindly" favors Washington.