North Korea's chief nuclear envoy Ri Yong-ho said Thursdaythat his country had started developing nuclear weapons because of Washington's hardline policies toward Pyeongyang.
Ri's comment came during his presentation at a forum hosted by the Maxwell School of Syracuse University in New York.
The academic forum, which ends this Friday, gave a rare opportunity for the representatives of the nations participating in the six-party talks to each give a presentation on peace and security in Northeast Asia. The six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions include the U.S., China, Japan and Russia as well as the two Koreas.
Seoul-based Yonhap News quoted Ri as saying that the nuclear issue with his country could be resolved once Washington lets go of its hostile policies toward Pyeongyang.
In response, American participants stressed that U.S.-North Korea relations could improve only if there's progress in North Korea's denuclearization.
South Korea's chief nuclear envoy, Lim Sung-nam, also reiterated that North Korea should follow through on its promises and make efforts to improve inter-Korean relations.
The South and North Korean envoys are expected to attend another conference to be held on Saturday by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News.