NEW YORK, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- North Korea's Foreign Minister lambasted the United States for economic sanctions at a United Nations summit.
Ri Su Yong said Sunday the "hostile" sanctions were hurting North Korea's economic development, and Pyongyang's goals "will not be attained" under the restrictions, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
The United States "persistently tries to suffocate even the sectors of our people's life by resorting to all means, proceeding from its inveterate animosity and hostile policy to remove the socialist system," Ri said in his U.N. speech.
Ri's remarks came two days after U.N. members adopted a new sustainable development agenda, marking 2030 as the target year for goals like ending poverty, raising environmental protection and supplying high-quality education.
Ri said North Korea is pursuing projects in science and technology, areas that are key to Pyongyang's satellite launches. Some analysts have said North Korea's claims are a cover for a military program, because satellite and weapons launches use similar rocket technology.
North Korea is under U.S. and U.N. sanctions for violating U.N. Security Council resolutions on nuclear weapons proliferation. Pyongyang recently said it is resuming nuclear operations, calling the program a sovereign right, but activists have opposed the announcement.
On Sunday, U.S.-based North Korean defector Ma Young Ae confronted Ri outside the North Korean mission to the U.N. after his speech, South Korean outlet Newsis reported.
As Ma held a sign that read, "Kim Jong Un will have to give up nuclear weapons and dismantle the North Korean gulags," she said Ri avoided eye contact and rushed into the building. Ma said she confronted Ri twice in 2014, and North Korean envoys have called her one-woman protest a "face-of-terror demonstration."