North Korea threatened the United States once again Tuesday, vowing to send more “gift packages” similar to its recent underground nuclear weapons test.
The ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the United Nations in Geneva, Han Tae-song, spoke at the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament two days after Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test, its first since September 2016.
North Korea triggered an artificial 6.3 magnitude earthquake when it detonated an underground hydrogen bomb last weekend. Hailed as a “perfect success”, it was the country’s largest ever nuclear weapons test. The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) claimed the test “marked a very significant occasion in attaining the final goal of completing the state nuclear force”.
Pyongyang sparked international condemnation in July when it tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a weapon potentially capable of reaching the United States mainland. Last night, South Korea’s Asia Business Daily reported that the North was attempting to secretly move its ICBM to the Korean west coast. Leaders in Seoul fear the hermit kingdom may be capable of mounting its newly-tested hydrogen bomb to the new missile.
Mr. Han threated Washington with more such activities if it does not cease its “reckless provocations and attempts to put pressure on the DPRK”. He added that the North Korean delegation is rejecting sanctions set by the U.N. Security Council. In a further Q&A session with the KCNA, he criticized the United States for pressuring other nations to support the new sanctions.
The ambassador told the forum in Geneva:
”I am proud of saying that just two days ago on the 3rd of September, the DPRK successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test for intercontinental ballistic rocket under its plan for building a strategic nuclear force.
The recent self-defense measures by my country, DPRK, are a gift package addressed to none other than the US. The US will receive more gift packages from my country as long as it relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK.
The U.N. Security Council has been reduced to a political serving tool serving the United State’s hostile policy toward my country, the DPRK. Pressure or sanctions will never work on my country. The DPRK will never under any circumstances put its nuclear deterrence on the negotiating table.”
Mr. Han also described the military measures taken by the North as “an exercise of restraint and justified right to self-defense” countering the “ever-growing and decade-long US nuclear threat and hostile policy” which he claimed was intended to isolate Pyongyang.
His comments followed reports that North Korea was attempting to secretly relocate its ICBM under the cover of darkness. Last week the North fired a missile over Japan’s Hokkaido island into the sea in an apparent show of force. According to South Korea’s Ministry of Defense, Pyongyang appears to be preparing for a second launch.
United States Disarmament Ambassador Robert Wood said that North Korea had once again defied the international community with its recent weapons tests. “It can no longer be business as usual with this regime,” he said.
On Monday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told media that North Korea’s leadership is “begging for war” and that the “time for half measures” is over. She also called on the UN Security Council to implement tighter measures against Pyongyang.
In August, President Donald Trump promised to meet North Korea with “fire and fury” and said that all options were on the table after the rogue nation threatened to launch a missile strike on Guam. Yesterday Mr. Trump said that he would allow Japan and South Korea to buy more sophisticated military equipment from the US.
The next step for the United States will likely be to target banks and other enterprises in China that do business with Pyongyang. South Korea is also pushing for sanctions that cut off oil supplies to the North, although China is unlikely to take measures that might lead to the direct collapse of its ally.