South Korea, the United States and Japan have jointly urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear program and stop its missile provocations at the UN Conference on Disarmament.
Ambassador Yoon Seong-mee, South Korea's chief delegate to the conference, made the call during Tuesday's session, and, in a rare move, she said that she was exercising the right to speak on behalf of the governments of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan.
Yoon criticized the North's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs as a clear and blatant violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and a serious threat to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, as well as the nearby region.
While calling for the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of the North's weapons programs, the ambassador reaffirmed that the path for dialogue remains open for the North.
However, Ju Yong-chol, a North Korean diplomat, flatly rejected the joint call by the three nations, denouncing it as provocative. Ju said that the North's nuclear force is for the protection of its territory and people, as well as peace and security in the world.
The North Korean envoy said that the regime will never give up its nuclear weapons first and that there can be no negotiation on that matter.