North Korea on February 19 tested a Hwasong-15 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which they said showed its readiness for “mobile and mighty counter attack” against any hostile forces. Soon after, South Korea and the United States along with Japan held a combined air drill involving a U S strategic bomber in response to the launch of the ballistic missile.
North Korea launched the missile into the sea off Japan’s west coast as a kind of warning of a strong response to upcoming military drills by South Koreaand the United States.
NORTH KOREA STAND
The state news agency KCNA said, “the surprise ICBM launching drill … is an actual proof of the DPRK strategic nuclear force’s consistent efforts to turn its capacity of fatal nuclear counterattack on the hostile forces into the irresistible one.”
Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, came out against the United States for trying to turn the UN Security Council into what she called a “tool for its heinous hostile policy” toward Pyongyang.
“I warn that we will watch every movement of the enemy and take corresponding and very powerful and overwhelming counteraction against its every move hostile to us,” she said.
strongly condemning the launch of yet another ballistic missile of intercontinental range by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated his call on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to immediately desist from taking any further provocative actions.
In a , in a statement, he also called on Pyongyang to fully comply with its international obligations under all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and to resume dialogue leading to sustainable peace and the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
NUCLEAR PURSUIT CONTINUES
In the security council that met soon after the launch also condemned the situation. Security Council Assistant Secretary-General Khaled Khiari, who briefed the Council said that that the DPRK has clearly stated its intention to continue to pursue its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programmes in violation of Council resolutions.
The country continues to implement a five-year military plan, unveiled in January 2021, which provided for developing new intercontinental-range ballistic missiles, among other weapons.
The DPRK has also repeatedly warned of so-called “counteractions” to military exercises carried out in the region and has described the Council’s meeting last week on non-proliferation as a “hostile act that the DPRK is bound to take due counteraction”, he added.
SECURITY COUNCIL’S ROLE
“Today’s meeting reaffirms that the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,” Khiari said.
“The meeting also provides an opportunity to discuss practical measures for achieving a peaceful, comprehensive, diplomatic, and political solution to the situation on the Korean Peninsula.”
He recalled that the DPRK “greatly increased” missile launch activities last year, 70 of which used ballistic missile technology.
The launches were characterized as involving systems with nuclear weapon roles. Most of the systems tested are capable of striking targets on the Korean Peninsula, and some are capable of reaching parts of North America.
The DPRK also approved a new law in September which set out conditions in which it could use nuclear weapons, including pre-emptively in certain circumstances.
“A seventh nuclear test would be a flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions and undermine the international norm against nuclear testing. The Secretary-General remains firmly committed to achieving the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons,” he said.
Mr. Khiari told the Council that the situation on the Korean Peninsula continues to head in the wrong direction, amid increasing tensions due to “the negative action-reaction cycle, with no off-ramps in sight”.
REDUCE TENSIONS, AVOID ESCALATION
“First, the DPRK needs to take immediate steps to resume dialogue leading to sustainable peace and the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; this should include the DPRK refraining from carrying out further launches using ballistic missile technology or nuclear tests,” Khiari said.
“It is critical to avoid an unintended escalation,” said Mr. Khiari, introducing his third step. “Communication channels must be enhanced, particularly military to military. Avoiding confrontational rhetoric will help to lower political tensions and create space to explore diplomatic avenues.”