North Korea calls UN’s Guterres ‘puppet of US’ after launch

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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s foreign minister called UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres a “puppet of the United States,” blaming the UN chief for joining the U.S.-led condemnation of the North’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile test.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday strongly condemned North Korea’s ICBM launch and reiterated his call on the North to “immediately cease taking any further provocative actions”. Guterres’ remarks came after the United States and other countries issued similar criticisms of the North’s ICBM test, which showed the ability to strike anywhere in the continental US.

“I often take the UN Secretary General to the US White House or a member of its State Department,” North Korean Foreign Minister Cho Son Hui said in a statement on state media. “I express my deep regret at the fact that the UN Secretary General has taken a most deplorable attitude, forgetting the purpose and principles of the UN Charter and its proper mission to maintain impartiality, objectivity and equality in all matters.”

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Cho Guterres accused the UN Security Council of ignoring the US and its allies taking the North’s ICBM test, saying it “clearly proves that he is a puppet of the US”.

The UN Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting on Monday morning on North Korea’s ICBM launch at Japan’s request. But it is unclear whether new economic sanctions could be imposed on North Korea because the council’s two veto-wielding members, China and Russia, have opposed previous moves by the US and its allies to toughen sanctions on the North over its banned tests of ballistic missiles. Earlier this year.

On Sunday, top diplomats from the world’s major industrialized democracies issued a joint statement calling for stronger action by the UN Security Council in response to North Korea’s missile launch. “(North Korea’s) actions require a unified and firm response from the international community, including the need for further significant action by the UN Security Council,” said a statement by foreign ministers from the Group of Seven nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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Friday’s ICBM launch was the latest in North Korea’s ongoing missile tests, which experts say are aimed at boosting its nuclear capability and increasing its leverage in future diplomacy.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watched the launch of his Hwasong-17 missile on Friday and called it another “credible and maximally capable” weapon to contain US military threats. Some experts say the Hwasong-17 is still under development but is the North’s longest-range missile and is designed to carry multiple nuclear warheads to defeat US missile defense systems.

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North Korea has argued that its test activities are a warning about a series of military exercises by the United States and South Korea, which the North believes are invasion rehearsals. Washington and Seoul have maintained their exercises are defensive in nature.

In his statement on Monday, Cho again defended his country’s missile tests, calling them a “legitimate and just exercise of the right of self-defense” against “provocative nuclear war drills” by the United States and its allies. This, he said, was “most wonderful and saddening to me,” because Guterres blamed North Korea, not the United States, for recent tensions on the Korean peninsula.

A day before her country’s ICBM test, Cho threatened to launch “fierce” military responses to US moves to increase its security commitments to South Korea and Japan.

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