North Korea nuclear programme
North Korea cited US "threats" as a reason for pursuing a nuclear weapons programme   (KCNA via Reuters)

North Korea has sternly rejected calls to give up its nuclear programme and said Pyongyang has its own interests to safeguard.

Declaring it is not "logical" to compare the Iranian nuclear deal with the situation in the Korean Peninsula, Pyongyang's foreign ministry said the isolated country is subjected to constant "threat" from the US.

"The DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] is the nuclear weapons state both in name and reality and it has interests as a nuclear weapons state," an unnamed foreign ministry spokesperson said, according to a statement released by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"The DPRK remains unchanged in the mission of its nuclear force as long as the US continues pursuing its hostile policy toward the former."

Calls have been made by the US and South Korea exhorting the North to follow in the footsteps of Iran after the successful nuclear deal. Tehran signed the landmark nuclear agreement with world powers agreeing to limit its clandestine nuclear activities in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.

The North Korean spokesperson went on: "It is not logical to compare our situation with the Iranian nuclear agreement because we are always subjected to provocative US military hostilities, including massive joint military exercises and a grave nuclear threat."

"We do not have any interest at all on dialogue for unilaterally freezing or giving up our nukes."

The last talks regarding North's nuclear programme took place in 2008 and involved the US, Japan, China, and Russia alongside the two Koreas. However, the discussions were abandoned since the reclusive nation pressed on with its nuclear tests.