North Korea has vowed to strengthen its nuclear deterrent in the face of " threats of war " from the United States and a " policy of confrontation " from South Korea.
On Saturday, an editorial in Pyongyang's ruling party daily, the Rodong Sinmun, said that "reckless" war activities by the US and South Korea could provoke a nuclear war. "As long as the United States and South Korean puppets continue with nuclear threats and threats of war against us, we will... strengthen nuclear deterrence through every possible means," it added. The editorial also accused South Korea of damaging planned high-level talks. "Unless there is a fundamental switchover in the policy of confrontation of the South's ruling forces, dialogue and improvement in relations between the North and the South cannot be realised forever," it stated. The two Koreas had initially come to an agreement to hold their first high-level talks in six years in the South Korean capital, Seoul, on June 12 and 13. However, the talks were canceled at the last minute after a row over protocol. The talks failed when North Korea said Seoul’s nomination of a vice minister as its chief delegate was an insult. Pyongyang canceled the dispatch of its delegation after South Korea refused to upgrade to a cabinet minister. The main focus of the negotiations was to be on re-opening two suspended commercial projects - the jointly-run Kaesong Industrial Zone, and South Korea tours to the North’s Mount Kumgang resort. Kaesong is located on the North Korean side of the fortified border and houses the operations of over 120 South Korean companies, employing both South and North Korean workers.