North Korea’s repeated flouting of UN Security Council resolutions by conducting nuclear and missile tests calls into question its suitability for membership of the world body, South Korea’s top diplomat has told reporters.
South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se stopped short of calling for Pyongyang’s expulsion from the UN, but said its authoritarian government was violating the terms under which both Koreas had been admitted 25 years ago.
He said the North had “broken records” in its violation of global norms: It is the only nation to have conducted nuclear tests in the 21st century and is already subject to five Security Council resolutions over its weapons testing.
“I think all members of the UN have to ask themselves whether North Korea is really qualified as a member of the UN,” Yun said in an interview late on Tuesday on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at UN headquarters in New York.
Calling North Korea a “serial offender,” he said the Security Council, the UN’s top decisionmaking body, needs to close loopholes in existing sanctions and impose tough new measures in response to the North’s fifth and most recent atomic test.
He said that the “Hiroshima-sized explosion” on Sept. 9 made it clear that Pyongyang poses an “existential threat” to its US-allied southern neighbor and a growing menace to the world.
“This latest test is a very sobering reminder [that] the danger and the threat from North Korea is now reaching a very, very dangerous stage. For many years we have been talking about the development of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles, and now we may be reaching a stage where we have to worry about the deployment of nuclear-tipped missiles,” Yun said.
“If that day comes, that’s not just a threat to South Koreans or to Japanese, it’s a threat to the United States and almost all members of the international community,” Yun said.
He described negotiations over a new Security Council resolution as a “last chance ... to check this fanatic behavior” of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
In a fresh sign of defiance, Kim oversaw a ground test of a new rocket engine and ordered a satellite launch preparation, North Korean state media said on Tuesday, an indication the country might soon conduct a prohibited long-range rocket launch — possibly to coincide with the 71st anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party, which falls on Oct. 10.
The UN and others view the North’s space launch development project as a cover for tests of missile technology, as ballistic missiles and rockets in satellite launches share similar bodies, engines and other technology. The North has conducted more than 20 launches of various types of missile this year.
Yun also voiced concern that the North was accelerating its accumulation of fissile material with a view to mass producing nuclear bombs.
North Korea has said it needs nuclear weapons and missiles to cope with US military threats. About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea.
Yun dismissed repeated North Korean calls for the US and South Korea to scrap annual military exercises, which it describes as a preparation for invasion.
Some experts say that could provide a diplomatic opening.
Aid-for-disarmament negotiations have been stalled since 2008, and Washington said they can restart only if the North recommits to denuclearization.
Yun said the North uses its argument over military exercises as an excuse as it pursues weapons development.
“We should not play their game,” he said.
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,
Former US vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he “should not have been so cavalier” after he told a radio host that African Americans who back US President Donald Trump “ain’t black.” In a call with the US Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Biden said he would never “take the African American community for granted.” “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.” Biden faced criticism after his comments earlier on Friday on The Breakfast Club, a