North’s foreign minister calls UN’s Guterres ‘puppet of the U.S.’
The United Nations should remain impartial and should not have condemned a recent missile test by North Korea, the country’s foreign minister said.
On Friday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued a statement condemning North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the East Sea earlier that day.
Guterres called on Pyongayng to “immediately desist from taking any further provocative actions, to fully comply with its international obligations under all relevant Security Council resolutions, and to take immediate steps to resume dialogue leading to sustainable peace and the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
On Monday morning, North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui shot back in an English-language statement released by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“I express my strong regret over the fact that the UN secretary-general has taken a very deplorable attitude, oblivious of the purpose and principles of the UN Charter and its proper mission, which is to maintain impartiality, objectivity and equity in all matters,” Choe said.
She noted that Guterres called Pyongyang’s “legitimate and just” right to exercise self-defense against the United States a “provocation.”
“Recently I have often taken the UN secretary-general for a member of the U.S. White House or its State Department,” said Choe, adding she warned Guterres consider the Korean Peninsula issue “on the basis of impartiality and objectivity.”
She claimed that “a series of provocative nuclear war rehearsals, staged by the U.S.-led allied forces with involvement of nuclear strategic assets in and around the Korean peninsula all the year round, brought the present touch-and-go situation of confrontation to the peninsula.”
The United States and Korea held Vigilant Storm war games earlier this month, which included F-35 fighters, while the United States pledged to reinforce extended deterrence to South Korea and Japan in a joint statement on Nov. 13 in Phnom Penh.
Extended deterrence refers to the U.S. commitment to utilize its full range of military assets, including nuclear weapons, in defense of allies.
Choe said Guterres “shifted the blame” to North Korea, rather than the United States, calling the situation “deplorable.” She then called the UN chief a “puppet of the U.S.” and warned of “clear counteraction” as North Korea watches the United States and the UN Security Council’s next moves.
On Saturday, North Korea state media reported that leader Kim Jong-un had watched over the “successful” launching of its “new-type” Hwasong-17 ICBM from the Pyongyang International Airport the previous day. He was accompanied by his daughter, who made her first public appearance.
The Hwasong-17 has a range of around 15,000 kilometers, which would put the United States mainland within its range.
Choe’s remarks came ahead of the 15-member UN Security Council’s emergency meeting on North Korea’s latest ICBM launch scheduled to take place Monday in New York. The meeting will also be attended by South Korea as a related country.
The Security Council has often been unable to reach consensus on matters related to Pyongyang, as China and Russia, two of the five permanent veto-wielding members, has traditionally sided with North Korea.
On Sunday, the foreign ministers of the G7, or Group of Seven, countries issued a statement calling on the UN Security Council to take “significant measures” in response to North Korea’s ICBM launch.
The ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States condemned “in the strongest terms” the North’s ICBM launch and said that its actions “demand a united and robust response by the international community, including the need for further significant measures to be taken by the UN Security Council.”
They called on the North to “abandon its nuclear weapons, existing nuclear programs, and any other weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and cease immediately all related activities.”
In a press briefing in Washington Friday, Vedant Patel, a U.S. State Department deputy spokesman, told reporters that U.S. President Joe Biden in his bilateral summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali earlier this month “raised concerns about the DPRK’s provocative behavior.”
He referred to the acronym for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Biden noted that all members of the international community “have a vested interest in encouraging the DPRK to act responsibly.”
Patel added that Beijing also “has a responsibility to make clear to the DPRK that Pyongyang should not engage in unlawful nuclear or ballistic missile tests.”
BY SARAH KIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]