Asia-Pacific

North Korea accuses US of 'inciting military tension'

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North Korea says it won't hesitate to defend itself in the wake of the United States holding joint military exercises with South Korea.

North Korea has accused the United States of "inciting military tension" by holding joint exercises with South Korea and says Pyongyang would take measures to defend itself.

Ju Yong Chol, a North Korean diplomat in Geneva, told the United Nations-sponsored Conference on Disarmament that Pyongyang would have to "reconsider the major steps we have taken so far".

A man watches a TV showing North Korea's missile launch.
A man watches a TV showing North Korea's missile launch.

He did not mention North Korea's latest firing of missiles into the sea off its east coast for the fourth time in less than two weeks on Tuesday.

"Although US and South Korean authorities are playing every trick to justify this military exercise, they can neither conceal nor whitewash its aggressive nature in any manner," Ju told the forum.

"What is more serious is that the United States is inciting military tension hostile to the DPRK by deploying a large amount of latest offensive military hardware in South Korea in disregard of its commitment to suspend joint military exercises made at summit level."

This compelled North Korea to "develop, test and deploy the powerful physical means essential for our national defence", Ju said.

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.
Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.

US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood took the floor to reject the allegation: "Let me just make very clear, the United States is not inciting military pressure.

He said the US was committed to denuclearisation of North Korea, as agreed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump at their first summit meeting last year in Singapore.

"We very much look forward to returning to discussions with the North in order to carry out the vision laid out at that summit by President Trump and chairman Kim," Wood added.

Additional reporting: Reuters

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