The North Korean envoy spoke with Sky News on Friday at his country’s London Embassy. “It is not the United States that has a monopoly on nuclear weapons strikes,” Hyun told Sky News. Hyun was asked if he meant North Korea, which had quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1993, Hyun replied: “Any time. Any time. Yes.”
“We are prepared,” Hyun said. “That is why I say if a sparkle of a fire is made on the Korean peninsula, it will lead to a nuclear war. We don’t say empty words. We mean what we mean.”
North Korea is thought to have a handful of crude nuclear weapons, and has conducted three nuclear tests since 2006. But no one really knows just how far along the reclusive country has come in the development of miniaturized nuclear warheads that can be placed on missiles.
“If the United States strike us, we should strike back. We are ready for conventional war with conventional war, we are ready for nuclear war with nuclear war. We do not want war, but we are not afraid of war,” Hyun said.
In a speech given by Ri Su Yong, the North Korean foreign minister, on March 3, he said North Korea has the power to deter an “ever-increasing nuclear threat” by the U.S. and even went so far as to say this would mean “preemptive strikes if necessary.” And he also, again, denounced the military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea, calling them “provocative.”
Hyun didn’t leave out any comments about the allegations made against his country over its human rights violations. The ambassador was asked specifically about allegations made to Sky News in 2014 by North Koreans living in Seoul, South Korea, who claimed they had been beaten and tortured in their own country.
Hyun said: “Those allegations are based on fabricated stories by the defectors from the North.”
Hyun went on to ask if the reporter knew the difference between humans and animals. He answered his own question, saying: “Human beings have a conscience and morality. If they do not have a conscience and a morality they are like nothing. They’re animals. That is why we call the defectors animals. They are no better than animals. They’re human scum.”
The ambassador’s comments coincide with the annual spring military exercises being carried out between South Korea and the U.S. The U.S. has about 28,500 soldiers stationed in South Korea to deter possible aggression from North Korea.