SEOUL: North Korea vowed not to rule out a “new form” of nuclear test yesterday after the UN Security Council condemned its latest ballistic missile launch amid simmering tensions over Seoul’s joint military drills with Washington.
Pyongyang has carried out a series of rocket and short-range missile launches in recent weeks which have prompted stern reactions from South Korea and the United States.
On Wednesday it upped the ante by test-firing two mid-range ballistic missiles capable of striking Japan, sparking condemnation from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
“(We) would not rule out a new form of a nuclear test for bolstering up (our) nuclear deterrence,” Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the North’s state-run KCNA news agency. The UNSC said the North’s missile launch Wednesday was a violation of UN resolutions barring Pyongyang from any nuclear or ballistic activity, agreeing to consult on an “appropriate response”.
Pyongyang slammed the UNSC criticism as “absolutely intolerable”, defending the launch as a “self-defensive” act in protest against the ongoing Seoul-Washington drills being held in South Korea.
The North has habitually lashed out at the annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises between the two allies—held this year from February to April—labelling them as practice for war.
“The UN Security Council, shutting its eyes to the US madcap nuclear exercises, ‘denounced’ (our) self-defensive rocket launching drills to cope with them as a ‘violation of resolutions’... It is absolutely intolerable,” said the ministry.