North Korea accuses US of hostility, continues weapons tests

The North's latest test indicates the country is returning to its tried-and-true technique of mixing weapons demonstrations and peace offers to wrest concessions

North Korea accuses US of hostility, continues weapons tests

Kim Jong Un. Reuters file

Seoul, September 28

North Korea on Monday accused the United States of keeping up its “hostile policy” and demanded the Biden administration permanently end joint military exercises with South Korea even as it continued its recent streak of weapons tests apparently aimed at pressuring Washington and Seoul over slow nuclear diplomacy.

North Korean Ambassador Kim Song's comments on the last day of the UN General Assembly's annual high-level meeting came shortly after South Korea's military said the North fired an unidentified projectile into its eastern waters.

The North's latest test, which followed two previous rounds of missile tests this month, indicated the country is returning to its tried-and-true technique of mixing weapons demonstrations and peace offers to wrest concessions amid long-stalled negotiations over its nuclear weapons program.

Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff didn't immediately say what the North launched in its latest test, which took place early on Tuesday on the Korean Peninsula, or how far the weapon flew.

Speaking through a translator, Kim justified North Korea's development of a “war deterrent” as a necessity to defend against US threats, and also accused South Korea of betraying inter-Korean peace agreements by prioritising its Western ally over “national harmony”.

He demanded that the United States “permanently” stop its military exercises with South Korea, which the North has traditionally described as invasion rehearsals, and end the deployment of US strategic weapons if it wants to end the 1950-53 Korean War and “is really desirous of peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula".

“The possible outbreak of a new war on the Korean Peninsula is contained not because of the US's mercy on the DPRK, it is because our state is growing a reliable deterrent that can control the hostile forces in an attempted military invasion,” Kim said, referring to North Korea by the abbreviation of its formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The Biden administration recently announced that it terminated the longest war in Afghanistan after 20 years, Kim said, “but the US is still ignoring the reality that the Korean War has not ended for over 70 years”.

Kim cited “military threats and hostile acts” that the DPRK has faced from the US every day since it was founded after the 1950-53 Korean war when the country was divided.

North Korea mainly uses the term “hostile policy” to refer to US-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons program and the joint US-South Korea military drills.

“If (the United States) is really desirous of peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula, they should take the first step towards giving up its hostile policy against the DPRK by stopping permanently the joint military exercises and the deployment of all kinds of strategic weapons which are levelled at the DPRK in and around the Korean Peninsula,” Kim said. AP

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