North Korea: North Korea and Russia clash with US, South Korea and allies over Pyongyang’s latest missile launch




UNITED NATIONS: North Korea and Russia clashed with the United States, South Korea and their allies at an emergency UN Security Councilmeeting on Tuesday on Pyongyang’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile launch, which it called “a warning counter-measure” to threats from the US and other hostile forces. North Korean Ambassador Kim Song said this is “the most dangerous year” in the military-security landscape on the Korean Peninsula, pointing to stepped up US-South Korean military exercises and the US deployment of nuclear-powered submarines and other nuclear assets to the area that have raised a “nuclear war danger”.
The US and nine allies pointed to five North Korean ICBM launches, over 25 ballistic missiles launches and three satellite launches using ballistic missile technology this year, violating multiple Security Council resolutions and threatening “the peace and stability of its neighbours and the international community”.
In a statement read just before the council meeting by US deputy ambassador Robert Wood, surrounded by diplomats from the other countries, the 10 countries condemned the latest ICBM launch on December 17 and all launches before it.
North Korea’s Song urged the international community to think about North Korea’s security concerns, calling its counter-measures an “absolutely reasonable, normal and reflective response” in exercise of its legitimate right to self-defence.
He warned the US and South Korea that if they continue “with their reckless and irresponsible military threat”, North Korea’s armed forces “will never remain an onlooker to it and the provokers will be held entirely responsible for all the consequences”.
North Korea will also “continue to build up its strategic power of a more advanced type to contain and control any threat from the US and its followers with immediate, overwhelming and decisive counter-measures”, Song warned.
The Security Council imposed sanctions after North Korea’s first nuclear test explosion in 2006 and tightened them over the years in a total of 10 resolutions seeking – so far unsuccessfully – to cut funds and curb its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
The last sanctions resolution was adopted by the council in December 2017. China and Russia vetoed a US-sponsored resolution in May 2022 that would have imposed new sanctions over a spate of intercontinental ballistic missile launches. And the two veto-wielding council members have blocked any council action, including media statements, since then.
The 10 countries – Albania, Ecuador, France, Japan, Malta, South Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States – said silence from the Security Council “sends the wrong message to Pyongyang and all proliferators.”
They urged North Korea to abandon its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs, “and instead invest in feeding the people in North Korea” and engage in diplomacy. They also urged all Security Council members to overcome their prolonged silence and uphold the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Anna Evstigneeva called attempts to condemn Pyongyang “a one-sided approach”.
She warned that the situation is escalating “to a dangerous brink”, pointing to both Pyongyang and Seoul justifying their hostile moves as self-defense. And she accused the United States of deploying its massive military machine in the region, saying this looks “more and more like preparations for an offensive operation”, even though the US says it has no hostile intentions.
Evstigneeva said Russia again calls for a peaceful settlement of all issues on the Korean Peninsula through political and diplomatic means “without external pressure”.
Wood, the US deputy ambassador, countered that US military exercises are defensive and it’s North Korea that has violated UN sanctions – not South Korea, Japan or the US.
And he said the United States has tried repeatedly to have an unconditional dialogue with Pyongyang but it has refused.


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