S. Korea, EU urge N. Korea to stop nuke development, rocket launch

September 15, 2015
(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — President Park Geun-hye and her EU counterpart urged North Korea Tuesday to stop its missile and nuclear weapons programs as Pyongyang warned of a long-range rocket launch and its use of nuclear weapons.

Park and Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, condemned North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, including ballistic missile launches.

The two leaders called on North Korea “to cease all related activities immediately as required” by U.N. Security Council resolutions, according to a joint press statement issued after their summit in Seoul.

The latest call came as North Korea warned it could use nuclear weapons any time to cope with the hostile policy of the United States and other hostile forces.

North Korea also said it has started the operations of all its nuclear facilities in its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, after unspecified restructuring.

The U.S. has repeatedly said it has no hostile intentions toward North Korea. Still, the North has claimed it was compelled to go nuclear due to what it claims is Washington’s hostile policy against it.

North Korea has vowed to develop its economy and nuclear arsenal in tandem, a policy Seoul and Washington warned is a dead end for Pyongyang.

On Monday, North Korea also vowed to launch a series of satellites as part of its space development program.

North Korea did not provide any specific time frame for the satellite launches, but there is speculation that it may launch a long-range rocket in October to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party.

North Korea claims that its satellite launches are a peaceful project for science and economic development, calling it a sovereign right.

Still, South Korea and the United States view the satellite launches as a cover for testing the North’s ballistic missile technology, which is banned under a U.N. resolution.

Park and Tusk also called on North Korea to “refrain from any further provocation” and improve its dire human rights situation.

On bilateral issues, Park and Tusk expressed hope that the free trade deal between South Korea and the EU would fully enter into force within this year.

They also agreed to further promote bilateral investment, noting investment is the key to create jobs and growth.