North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations said Tuesday his country is "urgently" required to bolster its self-defense capabilities, claiming the Korean Peninsula faces the "immediate danger of nuclear war breakout."
Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, Ambassador Kim Song attributed the "current dangerous situation" to South Korea and the United States, lambasting a series of steps that the allies have taken to bolster deterrence against evolving North Korean threats.
"Given the prevailing circumstances, the DPRK is urgently required to further accelerate the build-up of its self-defense capabilities to defend itself impregnably," the ambassador said during his live-streamed speech. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"It is only too natural that the more the reckless military moves and provocations of the hostile forces are intensified …, the more our endeavors to enhance national defense capabilities would increase in direct proportion," he added.
Kim catalogued a series of defensive exercises between the US and South Korea namely the annual Ulchi Freedom Shield exercise, the launch of the Nuclear Consultative Group and repeated verbal warnings against the North's potential use of nuclear arms.
"From the beginning of the year, the US and the 'Republic of Korea' made hysterical remarks of confrontation such as 'end of the regime; and 'occupation of Pyongyang' in flagrant violation of the principles and purposes of the UN Charter," he said.
Calling South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol only by his name, Kim criticized Yoon's warning at the UN General Assembly that any arms deal between Russia and North Korea would be considered a "direct provocation" against South Korea.
"Development of equal and reciprocal relations between and among independent sovereign states is not an issue for the "ROK" to interfere in as it is no more than a colony of the US," Kim said.
He described the Yoon administration as a "puppet" government, accusing it of raising tensions.
"The Korean Peninsula is in a hair-trigger situation with imminent danger of nuclear war breakout," he said.
Kim Sang-jin, South Korea's deputy permanent representative to the UN, hit back, chastising the North for making "groundless, illogical and absurd" allegations.
"Do you really believe as the DPRK claims the Republic of Korea, together with the US, conspires to provoke a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula without reasons that will cause catastrophic casualties?," he asked. "How many member states in this chamber are seriously aligned with the DPRK's false assertions? My answer is clear: untrue, absolutely incorrect," he said. (Yonhap)