The United States, on Monday (27/11), accused North Korea of using the launch of a banned military spy satellite to advance its nuclear weapons program. The accusation was later denied by Pyongyang.
“North Korea is shamelessly seeking to advance its nuclear weapons delivery system by testing ballistic missile technology in complete violation of council resolutions,” US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told council members.
Several Security Council resolutions prohibit Pyongyang from carrying out nuclear or ballistic missile activities. Thomas-Greenfield noted that North Korea has launched three Satellite Launch Vehicles this year and 29 ballistic missiles, including four intercontinental missiles.
The UN said North Korea issued a pre-launch notification to the Japanese Coast Guard regarding the space launch vehicle. However, North Korea did not issue an air and maritime safety notice to international maritime and air organizations regarding its launch on November 21. The probe flew directly over Japan.
“North Korea’s launch poses a serious risk to international civil aviation and maritime traffic,” UN Assistant Secretary-General Khaled Khiari said in his report.
Japan’s envoy condemned Pyongyang’s “horrific” and “reckless” actions.
“The international community must express deep concern over North Korea’s irresponsible actions and take firm action to address them,” said Ambassador Kimihiro Ishikane.
South Korea’s envoy said the launch was far from peaceful, as its northern neighbor claimed.
“Any launch using ballistic missile technology, regardless of its success or payload, can contribute to the improvement of ballistic missile technology, especially the ability of intercontinental ballistic missiles to launch nuclear weapons,” said Ambassador Joonkook Hwang.
The North Korean ambassador himself defended the launch.
“It was a legitimate and fair self-defense exercise, which is part of the legal area of our self-defense activities,” Ambassador Kim Song told the Security Council.
He explained his country’s need to have the technology because of the “hostile policy” pursued by the United States toward North Korea and joint exercises the U.S. holds with Japan and South Korea. (ps/lt/rs)