UNITED NATIONS / SEOUL
U.S. policy toward North Korea has made the Korean peninsula the most dangerous place on the planet because a “spark” there could ignite a nuclear war, a senior North Korean official told the U.N. General Assembly.
“Today, due to the continued U.S. hostile policy towards Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the vicious cycle of confrontation and aggravation of tensions is an ongoing phenomenon on the Korean peninsula, which has become the world’s most dangerous hot spot where a spark of fire could set off a thermonuclear war,” North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Pak Kil-yon said Oct. 1. Speaking of North Korea’s nuclear “deterrent,” Pak said that it was a “mighty weapon that defends the country’s sovereignty.”
One of the last speakers at the 193-nation assembly’s annual gathering in New York, Pak was also full of praise for Kim Jong-un, the country’s young new leader. Pak said that the North Korean people were united behind their new leader, who came to power after Kim’s father Kim Jong-il died last December.
North Korea is under U.N. Security Council sanctions due to its 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests. Earlier this year, Western powers had expressed concern that North Korea would carry out another atomic test but that detonation never took place.
North Korea has long argued that in the face of a hostile United States, which has military bases in South Korea and Japan, it needs a nuclear arsenal to defend itself. Six-party aid-for-disarmament talks involving the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, Russia and China have been stalled since 2008.
North drops leaflets
Meanwhile, North Korea has dropped thousands of propaganda leaflets attacking South Korea across their heavily militarized border for the second time this year, the South’s Defense Ministry said yesterday.
South Korean soldiers have collected about 17,000 leaflets, which were floated by balloon over the frontier on Sept. 29. The leaflets criticize the defense ministry’s “anti-Pyongyang” education program for its military and praise pro-North Korean activists in the South.
Tensions on the divided Korean peninsula have remained high since a failed rocket launch by North Korea in April, which was seen by the United States and its allies as an attempted ballistic missile test.
Compiled from Reuters and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.