NEW YORK - North Korea gave no indication Tuesday that it has moved any closer to denuclearization in its statement during the final day of the U.N. General Assembly.
"In the present world, where high-handedness based on strength is rampant, genuine peace can only be safeguarded when one possesses the absolute strength to prevent war itself," North Korea's U.N. Ambassador Kim Song said. "As we have obtained the reliable and effective war deterrent for self-defense by tightening our belts, peace and security of the Korean peninsula and the region are now firmly defended."
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization from the rogue nation, but two summits between the leaders have not brought any tangible progress toward that goal, and their once warm personal relationship has grown colder.
Ambassador Song also appeared to take a swipe at South Korea's decision to manufacture its own stealth fighter jet. Seoul released photos earlier this month of the prototype of the KF-X, which media reports say it plans to roll out by April 2021.
"It is an undeniable reality of today that cutting-edge military hardware, including stealth fighters, continue to be introduced into the Korean peninsula and nuclear strike means of all kinds are directly aimed at the DPRK," he said, referring to his nation by the abbreviation for its formal name - Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The United States and South Korea also regularly conduct joint military drills in the region, the last one in August, which Pyongyang considers "hostile policies."
Song also alluded to the country's struggle under targeted international sanctions intended to halt the regime's effort to attain a nuclear weapon.
"It is a matter of fact that we badly need an external environment favorable for economic construction," the envoy said. "But, we cannot sell off our dignity just in a hope for brilliant transformation - the dignity which we have defended as valuable as our own life. This is our steadfast position."
The North Korean diplomat was one of just a handful of diplomats to present a speech in person at the mainly virtual forum, where leaders sent pre-taped messages. This year's gathering, which usually draws thousands of leaders, diplomats and press, moved online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Song said that thanks to the "extraordinary wisdom and strong determination" of leader Kim Jong Un, the pandemic was under "safe and stable control."
The state of the pandemic is unknown in the reclusive nation, as Pyongyang has not reported COVID-19 data to the World Health Organization.