North Korean Diplomat Takes Pot Shots At US Ambassador During Rare UN Appearance

North Korea accused the United States of being “belligerent” during a rare public debate at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Monday.

Pyongyang sent a diplomat to the U.N. Security Council this week – one of the few times it has done so in six years – as the meeting centered around the country’s successful launch of a spy satellite last week, which violated U.N. sanctions, according to Reuters. The meeting took a turn when Ambassador Kim Song accused the U.S. of threatening nuclear warfare against North Korea, which U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said was a “disingenuous” claim.

“One belligerent party, the United States, is threatening us with a nuclear weapon,” Kim said during the meeting, according to Reuters. “It is legitimate right for the DPRK – as another belligerent party – to develop, test, manufacture and possess weapons systems equivalent to those that the United States already possess and, or [are] developing right now.”


The U.N. sanctioned North Korea in 2006 against utilizing or developing ballistic or nuclear weaponry, but Pyongyang routinely ignores these sanctions – having launched dozens of ballistic missile tests since 2022 – and used ballistic technology to launch their spy satellite into orbit on Nov. 21. The U.S. has held a number of joint military demonstrations with South Korea in the Indo-Pacific region and warned North Korea against holding nuclear or ballistic tests.

“We reject strongly the disingenuous DPRK claim that its missile launches are merely defensive in nature, in response to our bilateral and trilateral military exercises,” Thomas-Greenfield responded to Kim’s accusations. “Once again, I’d like to express sincerely our offer of dialogue without preconditions, the DPRK only needs to accept.”

Thomas-Greenfield added that U.S. military demonstrations in that region are routine and said North Korea was being irrational in taking it as a sign of hostility, according to Reuters.

“If there’s anything the United States wants to provide to the DPRK, that is humanitarian assistance for your people and not weapons to destroy your people,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

North Korea successfully launched a spy satellite into orbit on Nov. 21 after two failed attempts in May and August of this year. North Korean state media claimed that dictator Kim Jong Un viewed photos of U.S. military bases collected by the satellite the day after the launch.

“[The launch is] a great event in developing the armed forces of the Republic and coping with a new military situation in the region,” Kim said on Nov. 22.

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jake Smith on November 27, 2023

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