North Korea described on Tuesday its weekend ballistic missile as “self-defence measures”, rejecting U.N. Security Council criticism over the test, but the U.S. demanded international action against Pyongyang’s weapons programmes.
North Korea’s missile firing – which happens to be the first since U.S. President Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20 – had a range of more than 2,000 kms, stated South Korea’s intelligence agency. It touched an altitude of about 550 km and flew near 500 km towards Japan before falling into the sea east of the Korean peninsula.
The launch was condemned by U.N. Security Council which stressed the importance of members redoubling efforts to enforce sanctions against the reclusive state.
Han Tae Song, the new Ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the United Nations in Geneva, addressed the U.N.-backed Conference on Disarmament a day after taking up his post.
“The various test fires conducted by DPRK for building up self-defence capabilities are, with no exception, self-defence measures to protect national sovereignty and the safety of the people against direct threats by hostile forces,” Han told the 61-member-state forum.
“My delegation strongly rejects the latest statement of the U.N. Security Council and all U.N. resolutions against my country.”
U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood said: “All efforts to advance North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capabilities must cease.”
“If ever there were a situation that called for international collective action to ensure our mutual security, it is this,” added Wood.