Representatives of South Korea, the United States and Japan condemned North Korea for its satellite tests at a UN session on space threats in Geneva on Monday.
“We must preserve the global benefits that space provides, reduce the threats to the outer space environment from the irresponsible actions such as the destructive testing of anti-satellite missiles, and reduce the risks of miscalculation and misinterpretation that could lead to conflict,” said Eric Desautels, acting deputy assistant secretary for arms control, verification and compliance at the U.S. State Department, speaking at the fourth session of the Open-ended Working Group on Reducing Space Threats.
North Korea has tried twice this year to launch a spy satellite into space and failed, including its latest attempt on Aug. 24.
“The United States believes that the most urgent threat to space systems comes from destructive testing of earth-to-space anti-satellite missiles,” Desautels said.
South Korean Foreign Ministry’s director for non-proliferation and disarmament, Park Eun-jin, directly condemned North Korea for its recent space agenda.
“Such an unannounced launch represents a serious risk to the international civil aviation and maritime traffic, and a threat to international peace and security,” Park said, referring to the North’s latest satellite launch attempt.
“The launch was illegal, unlawful, at the same time, irresponsible, and we condemn the DPRK for such action,” she said, referring to North Korea by the acronym of its full name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Ichiro Ogasawara, Japanese envoy to the Conference on Disarmament, also condemned the North directly in his address.
“Taking this opportunity, I would like to reiterate our strong condemnation of North Korea’s launch using ballistic missile technology conducted on Aug. 24 this year,” said Ogasawara. “Such a launch is a clear and multiple violation of the UN Security Council resolutions and poses a great threat to the regional and international peace and security.
“Japan urges the DPRK not to conduct further launches using ballistic missile technology and to fully comply with all relevant UNSC resolutions,” he said.
The North Korean envoy to the UN Office at Geneva dismissed these condemnations, calling recent North Korean actions an “exercise of the universal right of a sovereign state.”
“The DPRK’s launch of military reconnaissance satellite is a legitimate response to undisguised military threats of U.S. and its allies,” said North Korean envoy Han Dae-sung. “If DPRK’s satellite launch should be particularly blamed, the U.S. and all the other countries which have already launched a thousand satellite should also be punished and condemned.”
Other members of the UN, including Germany and New Zealand, also issued statements condemning the North’s recent attempts to launch a spy satellite into space, calling them a clear violation of the UN Security Council resolutions.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]