North Korea rejects UN statement, says missile tests defensive

A Pukguksong-2 missile being launched during a test-firing by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to North Korean news outlets.
A Pukguksong-2 missile being launched during a test-firing by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to North Korean news outlets. PHOTO: REUTERS/KCNA

GENEVA (REUTERS) - North Korea on Tuesday (Feb 14) rejected the UN Security Council's statement on its weekend missile launch and declared that all of its tests were "self-defence measures" designed to protect its people.

The UN Security Council on Monday denounced North Korea's missile launch, urging members to "redouble efforts" to enforce sanctions against the reclusive state, but gave no indications of any action it might take.

Han Tae Song, the new Ambassador of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the United Nations in Geneva, was addressing the Conference on Disarmament a day after taking up his post.

"The various test fires conducted by DPRK for building up self-defence capabilities are, with no exception, self-defence measures to protect national sovereignty and the safety of the people against direct threats by hostile forces," Han told the 61-member state forum.

"The successful test launch of a medium-to-long range missile on February 12th is a part of self-defence measures," he said.

"In this respect, my delegation strongly rejects the latest statement of the UN Security Council and all UN resolutions against my country."

In New York, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement after the Security Council meeting that it was "time to hold North Korea accountable" with "actions".

US Japanese and South Korean military officials held a teleconference on Monday in which they condemned the launch as"a clear violation" of multiple Security Council resolutions.

The United States "reaffirmed its iron-clad security commitments" to South Korea and Japan, the Pentagon said.

Han said the divided Korean peninsula "remains the world's biggest hotspot with a constant danger of war".

He condemned joint military exercises carried out annually by South Korea and the United States, as well as what he called"nuclear threats" and blackmail towards his country.

"It is the legitimate self-defence right of the sovereign state to possess strong deterrence to cope with such threat by hostile forces aimed at overthrowing the state and the socialist system," he said.

North Korea shared mankind's common goal of global denuclearisation, Han said. "The DPRK supports global efforts toward nuclear disarmament and complete obliteration of nuclear weapons and we play a responsible role to contribute to achieving global denuclearisation," he said.

Japan's disarmament Ambassador Nobushige Takamizawa in Geneva condemned North Korea's latest missile launch and urged Pyongyang to comply with Security Council resolutions and not take further "provocative actions" that undermine peace and security in the region.