Pyongyang has pushed back against criticism of its nuclear program, saying it’s a “stark reality” that isn’t going away.
North Korea’s top diplomat has responded to the G-7’s condemnation of a recent missile test by dismissing the group as a political instrument of US world dominance and vowing that Pyongyang won’t give up its nuclear weapons program.
“G-7, a closed group of a handful of egoistic countries, does not represent the just international community but serves as a political tool for ensuring the US hegemony,” Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said in a statement carried by North Korean state media on Friday.
Choe made her comments three days after the Group of Seven wealthy democracies issued a communique condemning North Korea’s latest missile launches and calling for the “complete, verifiable and irreversible abandonment” of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. She accused the G-7 of “viciously slandering” North Korea’s “legitimate exercise of sovereignty.”
Pyongyang test-launched its newly developed Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) last week, triggering air raid warnings in neighboring Japan. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un claimed that the new missile would greatly enhance the country’s “nuclear counterattack posture” and strike “extreme uneasiness and horror” in the country’s enemies.
North Korea has conducted at least nine missile tests this year amid escalating tensions with Seoul. South Korea’s joint military exercises with the US have pushed the peninsula to the “brink of a nuclear war,” Kim’s government warned earlier this month. On Wednesday, Kim ordered the launch of North Korea’s first spy satellite, prompting a US warning that the project could be used to advance the country’s ballistic missile program.
Choe insisted that North Korea’s strategic weapons are needed to deter threats and cope with a security environment made unstable by “the reckless and provocative military actions of the United States and its allied forces.” She called it “preposterous and illegal interference” in the country’s internal affairs for the G-7 to declare that North Korea can’t be a nuclear-armed state.
“Our position as a nuclear state will remain an undeniable, stark reality, even though the United States and the West do not recognize it,” she said. “It is an anachronistic idea to think that only Washington has the right and ability to strike with nukes.”
Pyongyang will respond with “powerful counteraction” if G-7 countries make any attempt to infringe upon its fundamental interests, Choe said. “We will never seek somebody’s recognition or approval. The United States and the West have no right to talk this or that about our position as a nuclear state, and whatever they may say, our position will never be changed.”