WASHINGTON -- The United States' goals remains the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a state department spokesperson said Monday after Pyongyang threatened to use its nuclear weapons should the US continue to push for such an objective.
Vedant Patel, principal deputy spokesperson for the state department, also reaffirmed US commitment to engaging in dialogue with North Korea.
"We are committed to diplomatic approach with the DPRK and we harbor no hostile intent," he told a daily press briefing, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"And our ultimate goal here continues to remain the same, which is the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," he added.
Jo Chol-su, director of the international organization department at North Korea's foreign ministry, said last week that any force that tries to push for "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization" of North Korea will be dealt with resolutely in accordance with the country's nuclear force policy.
Pyongyang enacted a new nuclear law late last year that it said would allow preemptive use of nuclear weapons against threats to the country.
The North has also been intensifying its military provocations since last year, accusing joint military exercises of South Korea and the US of being aimed at preparing their forces for an eventual invasion of the North.
"The one thing I want to be very clear about is that our exercises and our cooperation with the ROK are longstanding. They are defensive and they are routine," Patel said, referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.
"The US harbors no hostile intent, and we are committed to the security of the ROK and our alliance's combined defense posture," he added. (Yonhap)