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North Korea warns of 'more gift packages' for United States

GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea is ready to send “more gift packages” to the United States, one of its top diplomats said on Tuesday, dismissing the international uproar over his country’s latest and biggest nuclear weapons test.

Han Tae Song, ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the United Nations in Geneva, was addressing the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament two days after his country detonated its sixth nuclear test explosion.

“I am proud of saying that just two days ago on the third of September, DPRK successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test for intercontinental ballistic rocket under its plan for building a strategic nuclear force,” Han told the Geneva forum.

“The recent self-defence measures by my country, DPRK, are a ‘gift package’ addressed to none other than the U.S.,” Han said.

“The U.S. will receive more ‘gift packages’ from my country as long as its relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK,” he added without elaborating.

U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood sought to turn the tables on Han by using his language against him.

“With regard to the so-called gift packages that the North is presenting, my recommendation to the North would be, instead of spending inordinate amounts of money on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, that it give its people the gift package of peace with their neighbours, economic development and an opportunity to rejoin the family of nations.”

Han said military measures being taken by North Korea were “an exercise of restraint and justified self-defence right” to counter “the ever-growing and decade-long U.S. nuclear threat and hostile policy aimed at isolating my country.

“Pressure or sanctions will never work on my country,” Han declared, adding: “The DPRK will never under any circumstances put its nuclear deterrence on the negotiating table.”

Wood said that North Korea had defied the international community once again with its test.

“We look forward to working with our partners in the (U.N. Security) Council with regard to a new resolution that will put some of the strongest sanctions possible on the DPRK,” he told the conference.

“Advances in the regime’s nuclear and missile programme are a threat to us all ... now is the time to say tests, threats and destabilising actions will no longer be tolerated,” Wood said.

“It can no longer be business as usual with this regime.”

The White House said on Monday President Donald Trump had agreed “in principle” to scrap a warhead weight limit on South Korea’s missiles following the North’s latest test.

The United States accused North Korea’s trading partners of aiding its nuclear ambitions and said Pyongyang was “begging for war”.

Additonal reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Tom Miles and Jeremy Gaunt