North Korea today “flatly rejected” a United Nations statement vowing to punish its latest banned missile test with tighter sanctions. In a unanimous statement backed by Pyongyang’s ally China, the UN Security Council on Monday strongly condemned Sunday’s test-firing of the medium-range Pukguksong-2, instructing the UN sanctions committee to redouble efforts to implement a series of tough measures adopted last year. A spokesman for Pyongyang’s foreign ministry blamed what it called “the US and its followers” for the declaration, the official Korean Central News Agency reported, saying they were “obsessed by inveterate repugnancy and hostility”.
“It is absolutely ridiculous to see them finding fault with the DPRK’s every measure for self-defence,” the spokesman added, using the acronym for the North’s official name. “We flatly reject the press statement.” Pyongyang habitually issues threats and says it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself against the risk of invasion. It has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of last year in its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States. The administration of US President Donald Trump has said military action was an option under consideration, sending fears of conflict spiralling.
More recently the United States has said it is willing to enter into talks with North Korea if it halts its nuclear and missile tests. The US-drafted Security Council statement was agreed on the eve of an emergency meeting requested by the United States, Japan and South Korea to discuss a course of action on North Korea. In it the Council agreed to “take further significant measures including sanctions” to force North Korea to change course and end its “highly destabilising behaviour”.