A new type of a tactical guided missile is launched from the North Korean town of Hamju, South Hamgyong Province, on Thursday in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. South Korea's military said the previous day that the North fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea. (Yonhap)
North Korea on Saturday accused US President Joe Biden of making a "provocation" for criticizing its recent missile launches, claiming the firings are an exercise of its self-defense right and warning the United States will face "something that is not good" if such "thoughtless remarks" continue.
Ri Pyong-chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, made the statement, a day after Biden said the North's launch of two short-range ballistic missiles Thursday was in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
"We express our deep apprehension over the US chief executive faulting the regular testfire, exercise of our state's right to self-defense, as the violation of UN 'resolutions' and openly revealing his deep-seated hostility toward the DPRK," Ri said.
"Such remarks from the US president are an undisguised encroachment on our state's right to self-defense and provocation to it," he said in the statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
Ri called it "gangster-logic" for the US to "ship the strategic nuclear assets into the Korean peninsula and launch ICBMs any time it wants" and to criticize the North when it conducts "even a test of a tactical weapon."
He also said the North has no choice but to build "invincible physical power" to defend its own country at a time when Seoul and Washington continue to conduct combined military exercises and "constantly pose military threats to the Korean peninsula."
"I think that the new US administration obviously took its first step wrong. If the US continues with its thoughtless remarks without thinking of the consequences, it may be faced with something that is not good," he added.
He said the North will continue to increase its "most thoroughgoing and overwhelming military power."
North Korea confirmed Friday it test-fired new tactical guided missiles a day earlier. It marked the North's first launch of ballistic missiles in about a year and also the first since the inauguration of the Biden administration.
Observers say the North could have tested an upgraded version of its KN-23 missile, which resembles Russia's Iskander, showcased during a military parade in Pyongyang in January.
The latest launch came as the Biden administration prepares to announce a new policy on the North.
In his first formal press conference since taking office, Biden noted that "UN resolution 1718 was violated by those particular missiles that were tested."
Biden also warned: "There will be responses if they choose to escalate. We will respond accordingly."
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council could meet next week for a closed-door consultation over North Korea's recent missile launches, foreign media outlets reported Saturday.
France, Estonia, Ireland, Norway and Britain, members of the council, have asked for a session Tuesday, AFP reported, citing diplomats, adding that a UN sanctions committee has asked its experts to investigate Pyongyang's missile activity Thursday.
Russia's TASS also reported that the "extraordinary closed consultation" will take place Tuesday at the request of France on behalf of the European members of the council. (Yonhap)