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North Korea seeks U.S. recognition as nuclear weapons state

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea seeks U.S. recognition as nuclear weapons state
This image released Wednesday by KCNA shows the test-fire of the country's Hwasong-15 long-range ballistic missile. File Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 1 (UPI) -- North Korea said the only way it would negotiate with the United States is if Washington agrees to recognize it as a nuclear weapons state, according to Russian delegates who recently visited.

Vitaly Pashin, a member of the delegation, told Russian news service Interfax that North Korea is "ready to sit at the negotiating table."

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"We met with Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea," Pashin said. "He said North Korea is ready to sit down at the negotiating table."

The only condition under which Pyongyang would agree to negotiate is if the United States recognizes the regime as a nuclear power, said the member of the Russian State Duma delegation.

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The Russians were also told the North had successfully launched the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-15, and that the country had already achieved its aim of becoming a nuclear weapons state.

The bilateral meeting took place Thursday, following North Korea's launch of its latest ICBM.

Alexei Chepa, a deputy chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee, told Tass news agency North Korea disagreed with the Russians on denuclearization.

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"The Russian delegation delivered its position of condemning the missile launch, but the North Korean representatives refuted the statement, and said the measures were necessary to respond to U.S. threats," Chepa said, adding North Korea is conducting tests to "achieve a balance of power" with its rivals.

The Russian politician also said if the United States and South Korea did not "aggravate" the situation, North Korea would not have needed to test-launch the Hwasong-15.

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