North Korea says US ‘overreacting’ to its missile launches

Pyongyang said tests were not aimed at the US and carried out for ‘defence of the country’

Maroosha Muzaffar
Thursday 21 October 2021 11:04
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Related video: China, North Korea test new weapons to deter US missile defenses

North Korea has said that the United States is “overreacting” to its recent missile test after the US and UK called for a diplomatic meeting in New York and accused it of double standards over weapons development.

In the latest series of tests North Korea has conducted, Pyongyang fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on Tuesday.

The North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement carried by the KCNA news agency that the test was not aimed at the United States and was carried out “purely for the defence of the country”.

The spokesperson added: “There is no need for the US to worry or trouble itself over the test-firing.”

The statement further added that the United States has taken “very provocative moves” by calling for a meeting of the UN Security Council.

The UN Security Council met on Wednesday after the US requested it.

“It only excites our suspicion about the sincerity of Washington’s insistence it has no hostile intent towards the country,” it said.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, also urged North Korea to comply with the UN sanctions and to engage in dialogue. She told the media: “It is time to engage in sustained and substantive dialogue toward the goal of complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.”

Meanwhile, the North Korean foreign ministry said in a statement that to criticise the country for “developing and test-firing the same weapon system as one the US possesses or is developing is a clear expression of double standards.”

It added: “It only excites our suspicion about the ‘authenticity of its statement that it does not (want to) antagonise the DPRK.”

The spokesperson also warned of “more serious consequences” if the US indulged in any more “wrong moves.”

Earlier this month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un blamed the US for tensions and dismissed Washington’s claims that it does not have any hostile intentions.

The current US President, Joe Biden, has promised to keep seeking diplomacy with North Korea but with a more “low-key approach” looking for areas for progress.

Meanwhile, neighbouring South Korea’s first domestically built space rocket blasted off on Thursday, but failed to fully place a dummy satellite into orbit, delivering mixed results for a test launch that represents a major leap for the country’s ambitious space plans.

The three-stage KSLV-II Nuri rocket, emblazoned with the national flag, rose on a column of flame from its launchpad at Naro Space Centre.

The Nuri rocket lifts off

The Nuri, or “world”, rocket is designed to put 1.5-tonne payloads into orbit 600 to 800 km (370 to 500 miles) above Earth, as part of a broader space effort. President Moon Jae-in, who watched the launch from the space centre, said the rocket completed all its flight sequences but failed to place the test payload into orbit.

“Unfortunately, we did not fully reach our goal,” he said in a speech at the site.

Space launches have long been a sensitive issue on the Korean peninsula, where North Korea faces sanctions over its nuclear-armed ballistic missile programme.

South Korea‘s plans call for launching a range of military satellites in future, but officials deny that the NURI has any use as a weapon itself.

The country’s last such rocket, launched in 2013 after multiple delays and several failed tests, was jointly developed with Russia.

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