North Korea Justifies Missile Launch in Uncommon United Nations Appearance

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North Korea Justifies Missile Launch in Uncommon United Nations Appearance

North Korea Justifies Missile Launch in Uncommon United Nations Appearance

In a rare appearance before the United Nations Security Council, North Korea's ambassador defended the country's recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch as an act of self-defense aimed at deterring perceived military threats and safeguarding national security. The envoy, Kim Song, asserted that the launch was within North Korea's rights and criticized the convening of the Security Council briefing by the United States and its allies.

The Security Council convened following North Korea's announcement of the successful test of its latest Hwasong-18 ICBM. The country declared that the weapon serves as the cornerstone of its nuclear strike force.

This marks North Korea's first address to the council on its nuclear and ballistic missile programs since December 2017, according to diplomats familiar with the matter.

North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has been subject to United Nations sanctions since 2006 due to its missile and nuclear activities. These sanctions include a ban on the development of ballistic missiles.

The Security Council has been divided on approaches to deal with North Korea in recent years. While the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China possess veto powers, Russia and China, along with the U.S., have expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of additional sanctions and instead seek their easing. The U.S. has accused China and Russia of shielding North Korea from further sanctions, while China and Russia blame joint military exercises conducted by the U.S. and South Korea for provoking Pyongyang.

Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, criticized Russia and China for preventing the council from presenting a unified front, stating that with its repeated launches, North Korea appears emboldened.

DeLaurentis affirmed the U.S.' commitment to diplomacy and expressed readiness for engagement without preconditions, highlighting that Washington has urged North Korea to participate in dialogue on numerous occasions. However, he noted that North Korea has not responded to these offers.

China's Ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, emphasized Beijing's commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and resolving the issue through dialogue. Zhang described the situation as tense and increasingly confrontational. He acknowledged North Korea's recent missile launch and urged NATO to engage in introspection, criticizing the organization's communique for perpetuating a Cold War mentality and ideological prejudices. The NATO communique had highlighted China's challenges to NATO's interests, security, and values, which Zhang deemed unwarranted.

Zhang asserted that China does not seek trouble but stands ready to respond firmly to any actions that violate its sovereignty, territorial integrity, development, and security interests, or undermine peace and stability in its neighborhood. He called for a departure from the specter of the Cold War and a reevaluation of global conflicts and antagonism.

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