+ A

North slams UN Security Council sanctions

Kim Song took special aim at U.S.’ weapons, combined exercises
Oct 16,2019
North Korean Ambassador to the United Nations Kim Song criticized the UN Security Council sanctions as being “unjustifiable and inhumane” in New York on Monday, after denuclearization talks with Washington earlier this month in Stockholm failed to produce any breakthrough.

Kim, speaking at the UN General Assembly First Committee, or the Disarmament and International Security Committee, lambasted a statement issued by European Union countries in the Security Council last week that condemned North Korea’s submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launch on Oct. 2.

The EU nations, including Britain, France, Germany, Poland and Belgium, issued the statement on Oct. 8 after a closed-door Security Council meeting to discuss the North’s new Pukguksong-3 SLBM testing.

Kim said he “resolutely denounces and rejects” the “act of provocation” against Pyongyang in the statement by the EU countries at the Security Council meeting, saying it came “at the instigation of the United States.”

The North’s SLBM launch came days ahead of the resumption of working-level talks between North Korean and U.S. nuclear negotiators in Stockholm on Oct. 5 and 6.

Kim went on to criticize Sweden during his speech at the First Committee - despite the Swedish government playing host for the latest working-level talks, which broke down as the two sides failed to narrow their differences. “We cannot tolerate that delegates of some distant countries - including Sweden and Australia - pick fault with just measures belonging to our rights to self-defense,” said Kim.

He continued that the North does not “recognize nor accept” the UN Security Council sanctions resolutions.

During his address to the UN committee, Kim warned, “Today’s reality shows the world is moving toward a nuclear arms race instead of nuclear disarmament.” He cited concerns over the U.S. withdrawal from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in August.

Kim warned of the “fierce competition and confrontation of big powers to expand their military leverage […] to gain strategic diplomacy throughout Asia covering the Pacific and Indian Ocean.”

His remarks seemed to be a shot at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy, seen as an attempt to contain China.

Kim was especially critical of U.S. “military hardware” including F-35A stealth fighters entering the Korean Peninsula and the combined military exercises between Seoul and Washington, which he said was “presumed to be suspended” but “has been resumed.”

He also pointed to Washington’s testing of its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and Tomahawk cruise missiles, as well as its missile defense tests simulating the interception of ICBMs.

Kim continued, “Such blunt hostile moves are running counter to the atmosphere of dialogue and reconciliation,” appearing to reaffirm that Pyongyang remains committed to the denuclearization negotiations.

The ambassador also called out Japan’s ambitions to become a major military power with an “annual increase of military expenditure surpassing the self-defense capability stipulated in its Peace Constitution.”

The second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump collapsed in late February in Hanoi as the two sides failed to narrow differences on the denuclearization measures needed to be taken by Pyongyang for some sanctions relief.

Pyongyang has been calling on Washington to bring a “new calculation method” to the negotiations and expressed public disappointment that the talks with U.S. chief nuclear envoy Stephen Biegun and his team didn’t bring anything new to the table. The U.S. State Department in contrast has said that it brought “creative ideas” to the table and had good discussions with Pyongyang in Stockholm.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]