UNITED NATIONS, Nov 27 (Reuters) – The U.S. and North Korean ambassadors to the United Nations clashed at the Security Council on Monday over Pyongyang’s launch of its first spy satellite and the reasons for growing tensions in a rare direct public exchange between adversaries. .
After nearly six years of absence, North Korea resumed sending its UN envoy to Security Council meetings on its nuclear and missile programs in July. The 15-member body met on Monday regarding the November 21 launch of the spy satellite.
At the end of the meeting, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and North Korean Ambassador Kim Song made unscheduled remarks, engaging in a fight for the right of reply at the council table, each arguing that their country was acting on the defensive.
“A warring party, the United States, is threatening us with nuclear weapons,” Kim told the council.
“It is legitimate for the DPRK – as another warring party – to develop, test, manufacture and possess weapons systems equivalent to those that the United States already possesses and/or is currently developing,” he said. he declares.
Formerly known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), North Korea has been subject to UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. This includes a ban on the development of ballistic missiles.
The technology was used to launch the satellite last week and follows the testing of dozens of ballistic missiles over the past 20 months. The United States has long warned that Pyongyang was ready to carry out a seventh nuclear test.
“We strongly reject the DPRK’s spurious claims that its missile launches are merely defensive in nature, in response to our bilateral and trilateral military exercises,” Thomas-Greenfield said, adding that the US exercises were routine, defensive and announced in advance.
“Once again, I would like to sincerely express our offer for dialogue without preconditions, the DPRK only needs to accept it,” she said.
Denuclearization talks between North Korea, South Korea, China, the United States, Russia and Japan have stalled in 2009. Talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President then-American Donald Trump in 2018 and 2019 also failed.
Kim said that until the “persistent military threat” was eliminated, North Korea would continue to build its capabilities. Thomas-Greenfield said North Korea’s actions were based on paranoia about a possible U.S. attack.
“If there is anything the United States wants to provide to the DPRK, it is humanitarian aid for your people, not weapons to destroy your people,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
For several years, the UN Security Council has been divided on how to deal with the Pyongyang problem. Russia and China, veto powers alongside the United States, Britain and France, have said more sanctions would not help and want the measures eased.
China and Russia say joint U.S. and South Korea military exercises are provoking Pyongyang, while Washington accuses Beijing and Moscow of emboldening North Korea by shielding it from new sanctions.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Grant McCool and Sandra Maler
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