GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea accused the United States on Tuesday of “inciting military tension” by holding joint exercises with South Korea and said Pyongyang would take measures to defend itself.
Ju Yong Chol, a North Korean diplomat in Geneva, told the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament that Pyongyang would have to “reconsider the major steps we have taken so far”.
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 U.S. 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.
U.S. 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 United States was committed to denuclearisation of North Korea, as agreed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. 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.
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Catherine Evans