NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Yonhap) ― North Korea will take additional “nuclear measures” if the United States continues its current approach toward Pyongyang, the communist nation’s senior envoy here said Monday.
Speaking at a news conference, Ri Tong-il, the North’s deputy ambassador to the U.N., warned his nation is set to demonstrate its nuclear capability.
“We are ready to take a series of additional nuclear measures to demonstrate the power of the self-defensive nuclear deterrent,” he said. But Ri would not specify what those additional steps might be.
“I think you can wait and see later,” he said, adding it is entirely up to Washington’s attitude down the road.
He accused the Obama administration of deliberately continuing a hostile policy towards Pyongyang, citing the ongoing South Korea-U.S. joint military drills as an example.
He also took issue with Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent description of North Korea as an “evil” place.
Washington’s continued anti-Pyongyang policy is aimed at toppling its leadership, he claimed.
He argued that the U.S. is politically using the North Korean human rights issue to undermine its regime.
He said all related accusations are groundless, as they all stem from a “brainwashing” campaign.
On the North’s test-firing of dozens of rockets over the past weeks, the envoy said it was part of a routine self-defensive military exercise.
In Washington, meanwhile, the U.S. State Department said the North’s launch last weekend of short-range rockets, which reportedly flew over some 60 kilometers, were not a breach of U.N.
resolutions banning ballistic missile technology.
“We’re obviously aware of reports that they fired a number of rockets into the sea,” the department’s deputy spokeswoman, Marie Harf, said at a press briefing. “I think ’rockets’ is the more technical term. We’re obviously monitoring the situation. To my knowledge, I think because these are, again, short-range rockets, they would not be in violation.”