Kim Yo-jong, the powerful younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, slammed the United Nations Security Council on Friday for holding a meeting on Pyongyang’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch.
She described the launch of the Hwasong-18 ICBM into the East Sea on Wednesday as its rightful exercise of “self-defense,” which came in response to the United States’ “hostile policy” against the North, in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Kim added that there was no “justification to take issue with the launch of our new-type ICBM,” calling North Korea’s self-defense policy an attempt to protect the Korean Peninsula and the Asia-Pacific region from the “devastation of nuclear war.”
Kim expressed “strong displeasure” over the UN Security Council meeting hours after it concluded and “strongly condemned” what she claimed was the “unfair” treatment of North Korea. She described the council as a confrontational organization encouraging a “new Cold War” that “destroys peace and stability in the world.”
Kim warned that the price that the United States could pay for provoking the North “will not be light.”
The New York-based Security Council meeting convened Thursday to hold North Korea to account for its latest ICBM launch came up empty due to due to opposition from China and Russia.
Thursday’s session was convened at the request of the United States, Britain and Japan in response to North Korea’s launch of its Hwasong-18 ICBM into the East Sea on Wednesday.
South Korean and North Korean diplomats attended as parties of interest.
This marks the first time a North Korean diplomat made an appearance and address at a Security Council meeting since December 2017.
The latest meeting appeared to highlight the growing schism pitting South Korea, the United States and Japan against North Korea, China and Russia. Both China and Russia are veto-wielding permanent members in the Security Council.
“We call today on all council members to join us in denouncing the DPRK’s unlawful behavior, to fully implement all Security Council resolutions in order to curb the DPRK’s generation of revenue for its WMD and ballistic missile programs,” Jeffrey DeLaurentis, U.S. acting ambassador for special political affairs for the United Nations, said in the meeting.
He referred to the North by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
DeLaurentis noted that two members, Russia and China, are preventing the 15-member council from “speaking with one voice,” adding that the resulting inaction has “emboldened, even encouraged” North Korea to continue with their transgressions.
The United States “will not allow the DPRK and its defenders to make a mockery of this council,” he added, urging Pyongyang to engage in dialogue with no preconditions.
“We categorically reject and condemn the convening of the Security Council briefing by the United States and its followers,” said Kim Song, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, in the rare appearance at the council.
He said North Korea’s test-firing of a new type of ICBM is its “warranted exercise of the right to self-defense to deter dangerous military moves of hostile forces and safeguard security of our state and peace in the region.”
Kim said that the United States and South Korea’s joint military exercises have the “very dangerous and unrealistic aim” of ending the regime of a sovereign state and is a risky act that can spark the “disaster of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.”
Zhang Jun, China’s ambassador to the UN, likewise came to the defense of North Korea and said that Pyongyang has been put under an enormous security threat, while its “legitimate security concerns have never been addressed.”
He voiced concern about “heightened military pressure” and repeated deployment of strategic weapons by the United States to the Korean Peninsula, along with U.S.-led joint military exercises carried out “on an unprecedentedly large scale.”
Referring to the joint communiqué by NATO leaders at a summit in Lithuania earlier this week which came down on North Korea for its ICBM launch and Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, Zhang further said “it was harping the same old tunes filled with Cold War mentality and ideological prejudices.”
Anna Evstigneeva, deputy permanent representative of Russia’s mission to the UN, likewise called out the United States, South Korea and Japan for their increased scale of regional exercises and military cooperation for the sake of extended deterrence. She said Russia has consistently opposed any military activities which would threaten the security of the Northeast Asia region.
South Korean Ambassador to the UN Hwang Joon-kook said that it is “deeply troubling” that the council meets repeatedly without any concrete result, while Pyongyang profits through continuing to evade sanctions and exploit key loopholes through malicious cyber activities, overseas laborers and illicit ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products and coal.
He also rejecting the “false equivalency” between the Pyongyang’s unlawful provocations and the long-standing, joint military exercises by Seoul and Washington, which he said are defensive in nature.
Hwang also called out the North’s “reckless pursuit of a growing nuclear arsenal and its gross and systematic human rights abuses are indeed two sides of the same coin,” and urged the regime to immediately cease its destabilizing actions.
The council adjourned without a vote.
The United States issued a joint statement Thursday with 10 other countries — including South Korea and Japan — that said that they “condemn in the strongest possible terms” the North Korea’s launch of its second solid-fuel ICBM this year.
It noted that North Korea conducted 20 ballistic missiles just this year, including four ICBM launches, in blatant violations of multiple Security Council resolutions.
“The Council cannot continue to be silent in the face of these provocations, and we must send a clear and collective signal to the DPRK — and all proliferators — that this behavior is unlawful, destabilizing, and will not be normalized,” DeLaurentis said delivering the statement.
The statement called on UN member states “to confront illicit DPRK revenue generation and malicious cyber activities that finance the DPRK government’s unlawful and destabilizing actions.”
It added that it is “time to unite and restore the Council’s voice on this threat and to take action in addressing the DPRK threat.”
On Thursday, North Korea’s state media reported that leader Kim Jong-un observed the Hwasong-18 ICBM launch the previous day that reached a peak altitude of 6,648.4 kilometers (4,131 miles) and flew 1,001.2 kilometers.
In turn, South Korea and the United States conducted combined air drills involving a U.S. B-52H strategic bomber over the Korean Peninsula on Thursday, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
South Korea’s F-15K fighters and U.S. F-16 jets took part in the drill, a demonstration of the U.S. commitment to extended deterrence, according to the JCS.
The South Korean government also levied unilateral sanctions on individuals and organizations linked with Pyongyang’s weapons programs, including Jong Kyong, director of the General Political Bureau of the North Korean army, on Friday.
BY SARAH KIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]