Choi Sun Hee arrives at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow last Tuesday. The senior diplomat said North Korea’s ultimate goal is to prevent the United States from making references to future military action. File Photo by Yonhap
Oct. 23 (UPI) -- North Korea's senior diplomat on North America said her country will "not follow in the footsteps of Iraq and Libya" at the 2017 Moscow Nonproliferation Conference.
Choi Sun Hee, the only known senior-ranking woman in Pyongyang's foreign ministry, said Saturday her country had a right to defend itself, and building weapons of mass destruction was the solution, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported Monday.
The sole way to defend sovereignty is to retain nuclear weapons, Choi said, adding, "We will not follow in the footsteps of Iraq and Libya."
North Korea has maintained Iraq was invaded in 2003 because it did not own nuclear weapons.
Supporters of the Iraq invasion believed Baghdad was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction and action was required.
Pyongyang has also blamed a deal Libya made with the United States for the eventual demise of former leader Moammar Gadhafi.
In her remarks in Moscow, Choi also said the "ultimate goal" of North Korea is to prevent the United States from making references to any future military action.
"We will not negotiate with nuclear weapons, and the United States must recognize us as a nuclear weapons state," Choi said. "We will not return to the six-party talks until the issue with the United States is resolved.
"Our supreme leader has said we will 'fight fire with fire'."
Choi did not make official contact with her South Korea counterpart at the forum.
On Monday Choi traveled to St. Petersburg to speak to students at the University of St. Petersburg, Yonhap reported.
The lecture is expected to take behind closed doors, according to the report.