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North Korea defends use of ‘tough counter-measures’ after firing missile over Japan

LiveMint logoLiveMint 29-08-2017 AFP

Geneva: North Korea on Tuesday defended its use of “tough counter-measures” against what it described as US aggression, hours after the nuclear-armed nation fired a ballistic missile over Japan.

Addressing the United Nations (UN) conference on disarmament in Geneva, North Korean ambassador Han Tae-Song avoided any direct mention of the rocket that flew over Japan and triggered global alarm.

“Now that the US has openly declared its hostile intention towards DPR Korea (North Korea) by raising joint aggressive military exercises despite repeated warnings...my country has every reason to respond with tough counter-measures as an exercise of its rights to self-defence,” Han said.

He said Washington would be responsible for “the catastrophic consequences” that may result from heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Tuesday’s missile launch came during the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian South Korean-US joint military exercise, which the North always condemns as rehearsals for invasion.

At the UN conference, multiple envoys including from the US, European Union, Japan and Australia took the floor to blast North Korea over the latest rocket firing.

“My hope is that North Korea ends this provocative behaviour,” US ambassador Robert Wood said.

Responding to the barrage of criticism, Han said Pyongyang “will continue to strengthen its defence capability with nuclear force as long at the US maintains (its) nuclear threat and non-stop military drills”.

In July, Pyongyang carried out two overt missile tests that appeared to bring much of the US mainland within reach for the first time and heightened strains in the region.

US President Donald Trump vowed after those launches that Washington would rain “fire and fury” on the North Korea.

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