North Korea’s UN deputy ambassador Kim In-ryong has warned the situation on the Korean Peninsula “has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment”.
He told the UN General Assembly’s disarmament committee on October 16 that North Korea is the only country in the world that has been subjected to “such an extreme and direct nuclear threat” from the United States since the 1970s – and said the country has the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defence.
Kim said that North Korea completed its “state nuclear force and thus became the full-fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges, including the atomic bomb, H-bomb and intercontinental ballistic rockets”.
He claimed that the entire US mainland was within North Korea’s firing range and if the US dared to invade, it would not escape retaliation. His notes also featured the following statement: “As long as one does not take part in the US military actions against the DPRK (North Korea), we have no intention to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any other country,” which Kim did not read out loud.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen sharply in recent weeks following a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang, including its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 and two missile launches over Japan.
Despite North Korean threats to shoot down American planes flying near the Korean Peninsula outside of the country’s airspace border, following a war of words between North Korean and US leaders, the US and South Korean planes are still conducting reconnaissance.
The US are increasing their presence in the region, wary of the fact that the new missile may be able to reach the US West Coast, according to russian lawmaker who returned from a visit to Pyongyang earlier this month. South Korea has been actively looking to increase its defensive capabilities against the North, hence the US setting up Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Systems (THAAD) in the region.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on October 15 diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the North Korean crisis “will continue until the first bomb drops”.
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