Kerry says North Korea should learn from Iran, end nuclear arms

Kerry says North Korea should learn from Iran, end nuclear arms

Kerry says North Korea should learn from Iran, end nuclear arms

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends a news conference at the sidelines of the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Vientiane, Laos July 26, 2016. REUTERS photo

North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons - when the world is trying to rid itself of them - is “very provocative deeply concerning,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said July 26 and warned that there will be consequences if it does not stop.

Kerry, who is in the Laotian capital to attend an Asia-Pacific security conference that includes North Korea, said its actions present a very serious threat not just to this region but also to international peace and security.

He said North Korea should learn from Iran, also a bitter enemy but with whom the United States and other countries made a deal to end its nuclear program.

“Iran, a powerful and well developed country with a long history of thousands of years,” has decided it would not pursue nuclear weapons in order to have economic sanctions lifted, Kerry said, according to the Associated Press.

“So countries can do this. But North Korea alone ... the only country in the world defying the international movement towards responsibility, continues to develop its own weapon, continues to develop its missiles, continues the provocative actions,” he said.

“North Korea in January did another nuclear test. In February, March, April, May, continually they have done missile tests. So together we are determined, all of us assembled here - perhaps with one exception assembled here - to make absolutely certain the DPRK understands that there are real consequences for these actions,” he said.

North Korea says it needs nuclear weapons to cope with what it sees as U.S. military threats. The United States stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea and regularly holds joint military drills with South Korea. Pyongyang has long demanded Washington withdraw its troops from South Korea and stop the joint drills that it calls an invasion rehearsal.