North Korea is ready to halt its nuclear tests if the United States suspends its annual military exercises with South Korea, the North Korean foreign minister has said as he warned that his country won’t be cowed by international sanctions.

Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong in an interview with The Associated Press defended the country’s right to maintain a nuclear deterrent, and for those waiting for the North’s regime to collapse, he had this to say: Don’t hold your breath.

“Stop the nuclear war exercises in the Korean Peninsula, then we should also cease our nuclear tests,” he said in his first interview yesterday with a Western news organisation.

Ri held firm to Pyongyang’s longstanding position that the US drove his country to develop nuclear weapons as an act of self-defence.

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