While below this I reproduced North Korea's statement, here is my analysis:
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has requested bilateral talks with the U.S. Their chief diplomatic complaint is that America will not talk directly with them. The U.S. has insisted upon six-party mulitlateral talks: Japan, U.S., Russia, China and the Koreas. While I think that is generally a good venue, the situation on the Korean Peninsula merits all diplomatic efforts that may relieve the potentiality for conflict. The U.S. should immediately adopt bilateral talks with North Korea.
The D.P.R.K. needs some direct assurances that the U.S. intends no military action. In reading extensively, as I have done, their public pronouncements and news releases, there is almost daily harangues against what they fear most: a U.S. attack. Given this fear, they believe that nuclear weapons are a potential deterrent against a conventional attack.
The D.P.R.K. does not need a strategic nuclear weapons' capability and be able to strike directly the American homeland with atomic weapons on top of long-range missiles. Ironically, the presence of some 40.000 U.S. troops in both South Korea and Japan shortens the distance considerably of a D.P.R.K. deterrent. America must know that those troops would be at risk if North Korea did NOT have a strategic weapons' capability and felt their vital interests were at stake.
While North Korea's nuclear programme predates the current administration and has been in formation for perhaps decades, they clearly follow carefully Middle East politics. Iraq is invaded, devastated by economic sanctions, and essentially dismembered due to American military action. They do not possess nuclear weapons. I have always felt that America's policy of retarding nuclear weapons' development in Iraq, Iran and North Korea was to reduce potential American casualties in the event of regime change, as opposed to a general policy of non-proliferation.
I can well imagine North Korea's logical belief that if they were able to develop and test a nuclear weapon, this might reduce the likelihood of an American attack. If they were to test a nuclear weapon, it should not trigger a military response. It would probably be underground due to the L.T.B.T. (Limited Test-ban Treaty of 1963); it would probably be a single fission device; it would probably be known in advance if they were developing an underground test site. Were it to be tested in the atmosphere, then I assure you that indeed significant measures would have to be taken to prevent that or punish that action. I am certain it would not be and in the meantime, direct bilateral talks that would deal with the whole array of issues is essential, NOW.