North Korea accused the U.S. of being "terrified" of the alleged impending completion of its nuclear arsenal in a rare appearance at the UN Security Council on Friday.
The North Korean ambassador to the UN, Ja Song Nam, described the security council session as "a desperate measure plotted by the U.S. being terrified by the incredible might of our Republic that has successfully achieved the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force." Ja also said his country is not a threat to other states as long as they don't try to interfere with North Korea's interests.
These remarks came after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressed the security council and called for Pyongyang to embrace a "sustained cessation" of long-range missile tests to open up the possibility of talks with the U.S. "North Korea must earn its way back to the table. The pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearization is achieved," Tillerson said.
Earlier in the week, Tillerson said the U.S. would be willing to enter talks with North Korea without any preconditions, but his assertion was swiftly contradicted by the White House. His remarks at the UN Friday seem to have been an effort to clarify the Trump administration's current stance toward Kim Jong Un's regime.
North Korea is believed to have as many as 60 nuclear weapons, though there's an ongoing debate as to whether its acquired the technology to successfully launch a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile and have it strike its target in the mainland U.S. The rogue state has conducted a series of long-range missile tests in 2017, launching its most powerful missile yet in late November. Pyongyang's sixth nuclear test occurred in early September and it's since threatened to conduct a seventh test over the Pacific Ocean, which could pose a massive risk to shipping and aircraft.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump and Kim have engaged in a global rap battle of sorts, frequently exchanging insults and threats. Amid all of this, many have expressed concern that the U.S. and North Korea are on the brink of war. "The worst possible thing that could happen is for us all to sleepwalk into a war that might have very dramatic circumstances,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said Thursday.
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