Tensions Rise As US And North Korean Ambassadors Spar At UN Security Council Meeting
The ambassadors of the United States and North Korea at the United Nations found themselves in a rare open exchange following North Korea’s recent spy satellite launch which has escalated tensions.
What Happened: As detailed by Reuters, the UN ambassadors, Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Kim Song, representing the United States and North Korea, respectively, had an unexpected verbal exchange at a Security Council meeting. This public argument comes in the wake of North Korea’s inaugural spy satellite launch and the subsequent escalation in tensions.
The meeting marked the first time in almost six years that the North Korean envoy attended a Security Council meeting, resuming his participation in UN meetings related to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Both ambassadors defended their nations’ actions as defensive, which resulted in a tense back and forth. Kim Song accused the U.S. of threatening North Korea with nuclear weapons, while Thomas-Greenfield dismissed North Korea’s claims that its missile launches were purely defensive.
“One belligerent party, the United States, is threatening us with a nuclear weapon,” Kim told the council. “It is a legitimate right for the DPRK – as another belligerent party – to develop, test, manufacture and possess weapons systems equivalent to those that the United States already possesses and, or (are) developing right now.”
The U.S. ambassador reiterated her country’s offer for dialogue without preconditions, an offer North Korea has consistently refused. Despite ongoing discussions about denuclearization, progress has been stalled since 2009, and attempts at talks in 2018 and 2019 also proved fruitless.
“If there’s anything the United States wants to provide to the DPRK, that is humanitarian assistance for your people and not weapons to destroy your people,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
Despite the escalating tensions, the UN Security Council remains split on how to approach North Korea, with Russia and China advocating for the easing of sanctions.
Why It Matters: The recent sparring at the UN Security Council meeting comes in the context of escalating tensions in the region. According to a Benzinga report, North Korea has announced plans for more satellite launches and has been increasing its military presence along the South Korean border. These actions have drawn international condemnation and heightened regional tensions.
Furthermore, the satellite launch has led South Korea to restart aerial surveillance near the border and suspend a significant portion of a 2018 inter-Korean military agreement, further straining relations.
Produced in association with Benzinga
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