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North Korea diplomat calls missile launch self-defense, slams U.N. resolutions

Ambassador Han Tae Song said weapons tests are for defense purposes.

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea diplomat calls missile launch self-defense, slams U.N. resolutions
North Korea’s test of a ballistic missile on Sunday was followed by a defense of the measure in Geneva. File Photo by KCNA

Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The North Korean ambassador to Switzerland denied his country's latest ballistic missile launch is a provocation.

Han Tae Song, who was recently appointed to the diplomatic post, said he is strongly opposed to the Security Council's statement condemning North Korea's missile launch, Yonhap news agency reported.

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"The various test-fires conducted by [North Korea] for building up self-defense capabilities are, with no exception, self-defense measures to protect national sovereignty and the safety of the people against direct threats by hostile forces," Han told an audience at the U.N. conference on disarmament in Geneva on Tuesday.

Han said the North Korea delegation rejects all U.N. resolutions against Pyongyang.

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The Security Council met Monday at its New York headquarters to condemn the launch of a missile. The meeting was proposed by the United States, South Korea and Japan.

In Geneva the North Korea diplomat also condemned the annual joint military exercises held by the U.S. and South Korea military, calling the drills a threat to North Korea.

Han added North Korea shares the common goal of denuclearization.

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On Tuesday in Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would work with the United States and South Korea, as well as China, to issue a coordinated response to North Korea, according to Kyodo News.

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Abe, who recently returned from a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, said he is discussing ways to move away from President Barack Obama's policy of "strategic patience" with North Korea.

The Japanese prime minister said he discussed North Korea with Trump during the summit.

RELATED U.S., Japan, South Korea to discuss response to North Korea

The two leaders were dining at Trump's Florida estate Mar-a-Lago when they were briefed on the missile launch.

In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China opposes the launch of the ballistic missile because it is in violation of U.N. resolutions.

"We also feel responsible for the North Korea nuclear issue, and will try to solve the problem reliably," Geng said, according to South Korean news service News 1.

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