North Korea defended its nuclear weapons program on Thursday, but the country may also be seeking talks with the United States. File Photo by KCNA
Jan. 27 (UPI) -- North Korea may be offering conditions for negotiations with the new U.S. administration of President Donald Trump, a week after the country said Obama should start "packing his belongings at the White House."
Pyongyang's state-controlled news agency KCNA quoted a foreign ministry official on Thursday, who said the United States is responsible for North Korea nuclear proliferation.
"Our nuclear arms strengthening is the result of the United States, the world's largest nuclear power, and its policy of nuclear preemptive strike. The United States is bringing enormous strategic assets and forces of aggression to the Korean peninsula, and inviting the dark clouds of nuclear war," the spokesman said.
The official described Pyongyang's weapons as an "inevitable choice, a right of self-defense" and vowed to strengthen its nuclear capability, as long as the United States continues to hold annual military exercises at its "doorstep."
The description of nuclear weapons as an "inevitable choice" and the emphasis on the weapons' legitimacy could mean North Korea is seeking negotiations, according to South Korean news service News 1.
North Korea also criticized the United States for what it described as a "double standard," after Japan launched its first military communication satellite.
KCNA compared the launch of the Kirameki-2, which took place on Tuesday, to North Korea's launch of an earth-observation satellite in February.
"The United States and its followers, while adamantly selling threats and jabbering on about sanctions, has not uttered a single word about Japan's launch of a military satellite while pretending to be mute," the North Korean statement read.
The Japanese satellite can monitor North Korea missile launches and was placed in orbit in response to Pyongyang's developing missile capability.