SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea’s foreign minister called UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “a puppet of the United States” as she criticized the UN chief for joining the US-led condemnation of the North’s recent ICBM test.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier issued a statement strongly condemning North Korea’s ICBM launch on Friday and reiterating his call for the North to “abstain from further provocative action immediately.” Guterres’ statement came after the United States and other countries voiced similar criticism of the North’s ICBM test, which showed potential for a strike anywhere in the continental US
“I often mistake the UN Secretary-General for a member of the US White House or its State Department,” North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said in a statement released by state media. “I deeply regret the fact that the UN Secretary-General has taken a very deplorable stance, unaware of the purpose and principles of the UN Charter and its very mission, which is to uphold impartiality, objectivity and justice in all matters .”
Choe accused Guterres of overlooking the US and its allies, who carried out the North’s ICBM test before the UN Security Council, saying: “This clearly proves that he is a US puppet.”
At the request of Japan, the UN Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting on the North Korean ICBM launch for Monday morning. But it’s unclear whether it can impose new economic sanctions on North Korea because China and Russia, two of the council’s veto members, have opposed efforts by the former US and its allies to tighten sanctions on the North over its banned ballistic missile tests earlier this year.
On Sunday, senior diplomats from the world’s major industrialized democracies issued a joint statement calling for strong action by the UN Security Council in response to the North Korean missile launch. “[North Korea’s]actions require a unified and robust response from the international community, including the need for further significant action by the UN Security Council,” said the statement by the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Friday’s ICBM launch was the latest in North Korea’s ongoing hot streak of missile tests, which experts say are destined to bolster its nuclear capabilities and increase its influence over future diplomacy.
North Korea said leader Kim Jong Un watched the launch of its Hwasong-17 missile on Friday, calling it another “reliable weapon with maximum capacity” to contain US military threats. Some experts say the Hwasong-17 is still in development, but it is the North’s longest-range missile and is said to carry multiple nuclear warheads to defeat US missile defense systems.
North Korea has argued its testing activities are a warning to the United States and South Korea of their series of military exercises, which the North believes are an invasion rehearsal. Washington and Seoul have maintained that their drills are defensive in nature.
In her statement Monday, Choe again defended her country’s missile tests, calling them “legitimate and just exercise of the right to self-defense” against “provocative nuclear war trials” by the United States and its allies. She said it was “extremely amazing and unfortunate for me” since Guterres still blamed North Korea, not the United States, for the recent flare-up in tensions on the Korean peninsula.
A day before her country’s ICBM test, Choe threatened to launch “stronger” military responses to US moves to increase its security commitments to South Korea and Japan.