Advertisement

U.S. envoy to U.N. raises concern of North Korea ICBM test

By
Elizabeth Shim
Ambassador Kelly Craft, president of the United Nations Security Council, told delegates on Wednesday that North Korea's warning it could take a new path raises the possibility of an intercontinental ballistic missile test. Photo by Elizabeth Shim/UPI
Ambassador Kelly Craft, president of the United Nations Security Council, told delegates on Wednesday that North Korea's warning it could take a "new path" raises the possibility of an intercontinental ballistic missile test. Photo by Elizabeth Shim/UPI

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. representative to the United Nations said Wednesday the United States can't rule out the possibility that North Korea could use a space launch vehicle or other long-range missile technology in its next test, a move that would be understood as a "serious provocation."

Ambassador Kelly Craft, president of the United Nations Security Council, told delegates that North Korea's warning it could take a "new path" raises the possibility of an intercontinental ballistic missile test, a test-launch of a projectile designed to "attack the continental United States with nuclear weapons."

Advertisement

Craft, who was leading the special meeting on North Korea days after Pyongyang said it carried out a "very important test" of a new rocket engine at its Sohae satellite launch pad, described the tests of weapons as an "increasingly troubling situation on the Korean Peninsula," and the reason behind a U.S. decision to call the meeting of international delegates at the Security Council.

Craft, who has served as the top U.S. envoy to the United Nations since September following the resignation of Ambassador Nikki Haley, credited the Trump administration for its efforts at diplomacy with North Korea.

Advertisement
RELATED North Korea ICBM test possible after Security Council meeting, analysts say

The United States "sought to engage North Korea in a sustained negotiating process to bring lasting peace to all people on the Korean Peninsula, and the surrounding region," Craft said.

The U.S. diplomat added President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sought to replace "decades of acrimony" at the 2018 Singapore Summit, and to "heal the wounds of war dating back 70 years."

The United States can't carry out the agreement reached in Singapore without Pyongyang, she said.

RELATED China, South Korea, Japan to meet for trilateral summit

"North Korea must make the difficult and bold decision to work with us," Craft said. "We cannot do this alone."

The U.S. ambassador also said the Trump administration seeks to make it "crystal clear" that continued tests of ballistic missiles would be "deeply counterproductive to shared objectives" of the two countries.

"Ballistic missiles will not bring greater security," Craft said.

RELATED U.S., Japan military drills include cyberspace coordination

Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun, speaking immediately after Craft, said Beijing is committed to the "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," while suggesting North Korea's complaints regarding sanctions were being ignored and the international disregard for North Korean concerns were contributing to tensions.

"North Korea has taken steps," Zhang said, speaking through an interpreter. "[But] its legitimate concerns have not been addressed."

Advertisement

The top Chinese diplomat to the United Nations also called for the "political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue," the demonstration of "flexibility and goodwill, a synchronized approach" to denuclearization and sanctions relief.

"Sanctions are a means to an end," Zhang said. "Not an end in itself."

Vasily Nebenzya, the top Russian envoy to the United Nations, agreed with Zhang, and blamed the Security Council for "being unable to agree on coherent steps."

Rather than strengthening "confidence-building measures," the momentum of diplomatic progress on North Korea "was blocked ... for reasons that are incomprehensible," Nebenzya said.

"On U.S.-North Korea talks, we are noting stagnation," the Russian diplomat said.

"Russia and China have proposed a viable roadmap which provides for security guarantees," he said.

South Korean and Japanese representatives also spoke at the meeting as participants.

A Seoul representative said the South Korean government shares the international community's concerns of the repeated testing of missiles.

"We strongly urge North Korea to fulfill its obligations under relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions," the South Korean diplomat said.

Japan's representative condemned Pyongyang's launches of "more than 20 ballistic missiles" in 2019.

"I cannot emphasize enough the importance of dismantling all ballistic missiles in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner," the Japanese diplomat said.

Advertisement

South Korea said Wednesday it is "determined to stay the course" of diplomatic engagement despite the recent tests, however.

The two Koreas cannot return to a "descending spiral" of enmity and instability, the South Korean diplomat said.

North Korea has rejected talks with the United States and its partners, citing a "hostile policy" and lack of flexibility on sanctions relief.

Latest Headlines