North Korea’s foreign minister has berated the United Nations Security Council as a forum of lies and double standards in the first UN address by a top Pyongyang official in 15 years.
Foreign Minister Ri Su-Yong called for reforms of the Security Council, which has imposed tough sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear program and missile launches.
“The Security Council should no longer serve as a forum for telling lies,” Ri told the General Assembly.
The foreign minister accused the top body of turning a blind eye to civilian deaths in Gaza from Israeli attacks while punishing Syria over the conflict on its territory.
He said it was “showcasing the extreme manifestation of the double standard” and said no action should be taken against Syria “under the disguise of counter-terrorism,” in a reference to US-led airstrikes against jihadists.
Ri lambasted the United States over joint exercises it held with South Korea in August and recounted that the 15-member council refused to consider Pyongyang’s request to suspend the war exercises.
Regarding North Korea’s nuclear program, the foreign minister asserted that US “hostile policy” had led to Pyongyang’s decision to develop nuclear weapons.
“The nuclear deterrent of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) is not intended to threaten or attack others,” he said. “Neither is it a bargaining chip to be exchanged for something else.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi earlier called for a resumption of six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear program in his address to the 193-nation Assembly.
A report this month by the UN nuclear watchdog raised alarm, saying the Yongbyon reactor may again be operational.
The reactor is capable of giving North Korea, which has carried out three nuclear tests, six kilograms of plutonium a year, enough for one nuclear bomb, experts say.
Already under crippling sanctions in place since 2006, Pyongyang was hit by fresh UN punitive measures in March 2013 over its third nuclear test.
The first address to the UN in 15 years by a top North Korean official was delivered amid state media reports that leader Kim Jong-Un was suffering a bout of ill health.