KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- A North Korean spokesman for Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong warned of a "Second Korean War" and blasted "U.S. hegemony" in the Asia-Pacific region while defending Pyongyang's right to satellite launches.
Former North Korean Deputy Ambassador to the U.N. Ri Dong Il made his remarks in Kuala Lumpur after a ministerial meeting was held at the ASEAN Regional Forum on Thursday, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
"In order to protect North Korean sovereignty and its people from a nuclear disaster, we have no choice but to resort to measures of self-defense," Ri said, according to South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh.
When asked about the possibility of a fourth nuclear test, Ri said that decision "depends on U.S. attitudes."
"If the United States continues to strengthen [the U.S.-South Korea] military alliance, engage in large-scale buildup of arms, and use North Korea as an excuse, a Second Korean War is inevitable," Ri said.
The North Korean spokesman said any rocket launch scheduled around the 70th anniversary of the Korean Workers' Party on Oct. 10 is a "sovereign right," echoing earlier statements made in Geneva by a North Korean diplomat who also said an "expansion" is underway at Sohae Satellite Launching Station at the China border.
Ri said North Korea is ready for conflict and that "[North Korea] has what it takes to confront war, regardless of U.S. decisions."
"No matter what kind of war is to take place, it will bring about Korean unification," Ri said.
The spokesman said North Korea's "Byungjin" or parallel development of the economy and nuclear weapons was the right policy to follow, and that North Korea's economy is entering its "rising phase."
"The entire world is witnessing the dynamic leadership of Kim Jong Un," Ri said, according to Yonhap.