North Korea has scorned South Korea’s suggestion that Pyongyang could lose its UN seat because of the use of chemical weapons to assassinate the half-brother of North Korea’s leader in Malaysia.
“North Korea totally rejects the despicable, irresponsible, impertinent and illogical remarks made by South Korea,” North Korean diplomat Ju Yong Choi told the Conference on Disarmament at the UN in Geneva on Tuesday.
“DPRK has never produced or stockpiled or used chemical weapons and our position is clear. We categorically reject the assumptions and speculations on the incident in Malaysia.”
South Korea called for “collective measures” to punish North Korea for using chemical weapons to kill the estranged half-brother of its leader Kim Jong Un, as Malaysia said it would charge two women with murder over the airport attack.
Police have said the women smeared VX nerve agent, a chemical on a United Nations list of banned weapons of mass destruction, on Kim Jong Nam’s face in an assault captured on security cameras in the Malaysian capital’s airport on February 13.
Speaking at the UN, South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said the use of chemical weapons was a “wake-up call” and the international community should act – including possibly suspending the isolated North’s seat at the United Nations.
North Korea has rejected allegations of its involvement in the killing of Kim Jong Nam, but US and South Korean officials believe he was the victim of an assassination orchestrated by Pyongyang.
“Many international media pointed out that North Korea’s use of chemical weapons for the targeted killing in a third country sent a very clear message to the world,” Yun told the Geneva forum.
“Namely this impulsive, unpredictable, trigger-happy and brutal regime is ready and willing to strike anyone, anytime, anywhere.”
Malaysian police arrested a Vietnamese woman, Doan Thi Huong, and an Indonesian, Siti Aishah, in the days after the attack.
Police are also holding one North Korean man and have identified seven other North Koreans wanted in connection with a case that reads like the plot to a spy movie.
Both women will be formally charged on Wednesday under section 302 of the penal code, which carries the death penalty, Malaysia’s attorney general, Mohamed Apandi Ali, confirmed to Reuters in a text message.