UPDATE : 2018.6.23 SAT 13:20
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N. Korea says its nuclear power status laid foundation to focus on economic development

A North Korean academic paper released late last year showed that Pyongyang believes that its "nuclear weapons status" will allow the country to fully devote itself to economic development going forward, the report picked up in Seoul on Sunday showed.

A periodical acquired by Yonhap News Agency lauded the so-called "Byungjin" policy, which centers on simultaneous development of nuclear armament and economic growth.

The paper was issued on Nov. 15, just two weeks before Pyongyang tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which the North claims is capable of hitting anywhere in the U.S.

The report claimed the development of nukes provided the country with "favorable conditions" to concentrate "funds and efforts" to "build the economy and improve lives of the people."

Local experts said the paper indicates that Pyongyang has been moving to acquire nuke and missile capabilities against the United States, believing that the move will create geopolitical stability, which will allow for economic development.

"North Korea could focus all efforts to come up with achievements in regard to the goal of building an economically-strong nation, which is mentioned in the country's five-year strategy through 2020," said Cho Bong-hyun, a researcher at IBK Institute.

North Korea outlined the Byungjin policy in 2013, which aims at cutting costs of maintaining traditional weapons by acquiring nukes, and instead allocating more funds to economic development.

The Chosun Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper published in Japan, claimed in June last year that the tension on the Korean Peninsula has been a major hurdle for Pyongyang's economic development, claiming the idea of the Byungjin policy is to seek economic development by building a peaceful atmosphere.

North Korea recently expressed its willingness to hold denuclearization talks with the U.S., offering to suspend nuclear and missile tests while talks are under way. (Yonhap)

Kim Sua  edt@koreapost.com

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