North Korea at UN: Nuclear Program Needed Against ‘Constant’ U.S. ‘Nuclear Threats’

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho addresses the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Friday, Sept. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew

North Korean Foreign Affairs Minister Ri Yong Ho ardently attacked the United States at the podium of the UN General Assembly Friday, accusing Washington of “extremely dangerous aggression” and “constant nuclear threats.”

“The United States will never ever deprive our people of socialism of their own choice and its system of absolute service for the people themselves,” Ri asserted. He also thanked the fellow rogue state of Cuba for its consistent support throughout the years.

Discussing the current tensions on the Korean peninsula — largely a result of North Korea conducting two illegal nuclear bomb tests this year — Ri asserted that the “root cause” of the tension was “the United States, which does not abandon its hostile policy towards the DPRK but hold aggressive war exercises, one after another, in and around the Korean Peninsula,” referring to his nation by the official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Ri described Korea as “the world’s most dangerous hotspot,” while defending North Korea’s nearly ceaseless belligerence towards South Korea and the United States. “The DPRK had no other choice but to go nuclear inevitably after it has done everything possible to defend the national security from the constant nuclear threats from the United States which had continued over the century from the 1950s,” he alleged. “Our decision to strengthen nuclear armament is a righteous self-defensive measure to protect ourselves from the constant nuclear threats of the United States.”

The United States, he claimed, was guilty of “outrageous schemes for domination” evidenced by “undisguised military threat and extremely dangerous aggression exercises” such as those conducted jointly between Seoul and Washington.

While China and Russia have also conducted joint military exercises in the region recently, these did not merit any mention from the North Korean diplomat. Both China and Russia have condemned the North Korean nuclear program as illegal.

“Going nuclear armed is the policy of our state. As long as there exists a nuclear weapon state in hostile relations with the DPRK, our national security and the peace on the Korean peninsula can be defended only with reliable nuclear deterrence,” he concluded.

North Korea’s time at the podium comes as a rebuttal to a strident condemnation of its bellicose behavior by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, who spoke Tuesday. “Mr. President, North Korea has now manifested itself directly before us as an open threat to peace. What can we do in response? The raison d’etre of the United Nations is now truly being tested,” Abe asked his audience, noting that Japan is within the shooting range of North Korea’s ballistic missiles and rejects the potential of once again being hit with a nuclear bomb.