The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned the United States on Tuesday that it would face an “even deadlier security crisis” as Washington pushes for a United Nations condemnation of North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test.
Kim Yo Jong’s warning came hours after US Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council that the US would distribute a proposed presidential statement condemning North Korea’s banned missile launches and other destabilizing activities. After the meeting, Thomas Greenfield also read a statement from 14 countries that supported action to limit North Korea’s progress on its weapons programmes.
Kim Yo Jong, widely considered the second most powerful person in North Korea after her brother, blasted the US for issuing what it called a “disgusting joint statement with rabble-rousers like Britain, France, Australia, Japan and South Korea”.
Kim compared the United States to a “barking dog possessed by fear”. She said North Korea would consider the US-led statement “a flagrant violation of our sovereignty and a serious political provocation.”
“The United States must realize that no matter how desperately it seeks to disarm (North Korea), it can never deny (North Korea) its right to self-defense, and that the more it is determined to confront- (North Korea), it said in a statement quoted by State media “North Korea) is acting and will face an even deadlier security crisis.”
Monday’s UN Security Council meeting was held in response to North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday, which was part of a provocative series of missile tests this year that experts say are designed to modernize its nuclear arsenal and increase its influence in future diplomacy. Friday’s test involved the most powerful Hwasong-17 missile, and some experts say the successful launch at a steep angle proved capable of striking anywhere in the US mainland if launched on a standard trajectory.
During the Security Council meeting, the United States and its allies sharply criticized the ICBM launch and called for action to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. But Russia and China, both veto-wielding members of the Security Council, have opposed any new pressure and sanctions on North Korea. In May, the two countries vetoed a US-led attempt to tighten sanctions on North Korea over its past ballistic missile tests, which are banned by UN Security Council resolutions.
North Korea has said its test activities are legitimate rehearsals for its right to self-defence, in response to regular military exercises between the United States and South Korea, which it views as rehearsals for invasion. Officials in Washington and Seoul say the exercises are defensive in nature.
Kim Yo Jong said that the fact that North Korea’s launch of ICBMs was discussed in the Security Council is “obviously applying double standards” by the UN body as it “turned a blind eye” to the US-South Korea military exercises. She said North Korea would not tolerate any attempt to undermine its right to self-defense and would take “the strongest counter-response to the end” to protect its national security.
On Monday, North Korea’s foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, called UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres a “puppet of the United States.”
There are fears that North Korea will soon conduct its first nuclear test in five years.
North Korea’s nuclear capability status remains shrouded in secrecy. Some analysts say North Korea already has nuclear-armed missiles that can strike both the mainland United States and its allies South Korea and Japan, but others say the North is still years away from having such missiles.
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