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North Korea accuses US of applying double standards over ballistic missile test

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People watch a TV broadcasting file footage of North Korea firing a ballistic missile off its east coast, in Seoul, South Korea, on October 19, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

North Korea says the United States applies "double standards" in its approach to Pyongyang's weapons program and has overreacted to its recent missile test by calling for an emergency gathering of the United Nations Security Council.

An unnamed spokesperson at North Korea's Foreign Ministry made the remarks in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Thursday, two days after Pyongyang successfully test-fired a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

The spokesman said the latest test had been carried out "purely for the defense of the country," stressing that it was not aimed at the United States or any other country.

"So there is no need for the US to worry or trouble itself over the test-firing," the spokesperson said, adding that Washington's criticism of the North for "developing and test-firing the same weapon system as the one the US possesses or is developing is a clear expression of double standards."

"It only excites our suspicion" about the sincerity of Washington's claim that it has no hostile intent toward the country, the spokesperson added.

The official further accused Washington of taking "provocative moves" by urgently calling for a gathering of the UNSC, warning that any wrong behavior by the United States and the Council could lead to "more serious consequences."

Pyongyang carried out the ballistic missile test on Tuesday. The UN Security Council held the emergency closed-door meeting at the request of the US and Britain on Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking to the media ahead of the meeting, the ambassadors of Western states all condemned the missile launch as a new "provocation," saying they would call for the existing international sanctions to be more effectively implemented.

"We firmly condemn this provocative action, which constitutes a clear violation of the UN Security Council resolutions," Geraldine Byrne Nason, the ambassador of Ireland, said.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, also urged North Korea to comply with the UN sanctions banning nuclear and missile tests and accept offers of talks, reiterating that Washington had no hostile intent toward it.

"It is time to engage in sustained and substantive dialog toward the goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," she told reporters, adding the United States had offered to meet "without any preconditions."

She said any new advancement of the North's ballistic missile program destabilized the region and threatened international peace and security, calling on Pyongyang to refrain from further "provocations."

At the meeting, the United States, Britain, and France confirmed to the UN that North Korea had made progress in its weapons programs following the latest missile launch.

According to diplomats, no member of the Security Council proposed a joint statement from the body.

North Korea is under harsh UN sanctions for its missile and nuclear activities.

In recent weeks, Pyongyang has tested a long-range cruise missile, a train-launched weapon, and a hypersonic warhead.

The latest launch came after US and South Korean envoys met in Washington to discuss Pyongyang's nuclear program.

With Washington-Pyongyang dialog at a standstill, US officials have expressed a willingness to meet with their North Korean counterparts in order to resume denuclearization talks. Pyongyang, however, has dismissed the US offer of dialog as a "petty trick," accusing Washington of pursuing a hostile policy toward North Korea.

Pyongyang also views the joint US-South Korea war games as a rehearsal for a possible invasion.

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