U.N. Special Rapporteur on North Korea Marzuki Darusman said this week that North Korea's "military-first policy" was a concern to international diplomats. Pyongyang, he said, appeared to be putting military might over the welfare of its people.
Ri Tong Il, deputy North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, told the General Assembly that tensions on the Korean Peninsula were close to the breaking point.
"The situation on the peninsula is on the brink of explosion and nobody knows when the war will break out," he was quoted by South Korean news agency Yonhap as saying.
The U.S. and regional powers have tried to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear ambitions, though there haven't been multilateral talks on the issue since 2008.
Washington this year withheld food assistance from North Korea after the regime tried to launch a satellite into orbit atop a long-range rocket. Similar launches in 2006 and 2009 coincided with North Korean nuclear tests.
The North Korean envoy said the multilateral negotiating panel was "almost a dead body."