N. Korea’s envoy to UN slams SK-US naval drills as driving peninsula to “brink of war”

Posted on : 2022-09-27 17:40 KST Modified on : 2022-09-27 17:40 KST
Kim Song insinuated in his speech that it was the US that had driven North Korea to adopt its recent law on its nuclear forces
Kim Song, North Korea’s envoy to the UN, speaks at the UN General Assembly. (Yonhap)
Kim Song, North Korea’s envoy to the UN, speaks at the UN General Assembly. (Yonhap)

Addressing the general debate of the UN General Assembly’s 77th session on Monday, Kim Song, North Korea’s permanent representative to the UN, slammed the joint maritime exercises by South Korea and the US that kicked off that day in the East Sea, calling them “an extremely dangerous act of igniting the fuse to drive the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war.”

“We are now caught in a vicious cycle of tension and confrontation due to the increasing hostility of the US,” Kim continued, adding that it is “heading into a much more dangerous place” in recent times. He went on, “The US is now planning even at this moment to conduct joint military exercises in the surroundings of the Korean Peninsula,” criticizing the most recent drills.

South Korea and the US are holding joint military exercises from Monday to Thursday, mobilizing warships including a carrier strike group led by the USS Ronald Reagan in the East Sea.

Regarding the new law that North Korea passed on Sept. 8, which opened up the possibility of a preemptive strike by the country, Kim commented that “We have found another correct answer to defending its sovereignty and fundamental interest from the persistent hostile policy and military threats of the United States.”

“The US should clearly understand that its heinous and hostile policy against the DPRK over the past 30 years had just brought about today’s reality,” Kim also stated.

Referencing US President Joe Biden’s Wednesday address at the UN General Assembly, Kim said Biden “accused us, saying that despite their ‘efforts to begin serious and sustained diplomacy,’ the DPRK continues to blatantly violate UN ‘sanctions,’” adding, “we have never recognized such ‘resolutions’ of the UN that impose pressure because we do not abide by its ‘rules’ made by the US unilaterally.” He also described UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea as “the most brigandish and brutal,” noting that other nuclear weapons states did not receive such treatment.

While Kim did not directly mention South Korea in his speech, he did include South Korea in his criticism by using the expression “the US and its followers.”

Meanwhile, Kim revealed that North Korea achieved a “decisive victory” against the COVID-19 virus “at the shortest period of time” of roughly 100 days, expressing his gratitude to “those countries that have shown their willingness to render assistance to the epidemic work of our country.”

The statement can be interpreted as a message of thanks directed at South Korea, the US and other international organizations that offered assistance to North Korea regarding disease control. However, as Kim did not name the specific countries that offered assistance, his remarks should be understood as a general expression of thanks.

By Lee Bon-young, Washington correspondent

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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