North Korea told the United Nations on Tuesday that the peninsula was at risk of nuclear war, as it blamed what it called hostility by the United States.
Speaking on the same day that UN chief Antonio Guterres warned of a new nuclear arms race, North Korea said that US actions over the past year have driven the peninsula “closer to the brink of a nuclear war.”
Kim Song, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, denounced South Korea’s actions under President Yoon Suk Yeol, a conservative who has worked to build tighter cooperation with Washington as well as historic rival Japan.
“Due to its sycophantic and humiliating policy of depending on outside forces,” Kim said in a speech to the General Assembly, “the Korean peninsula is in a hair-trigger situation with imminent danger of nuclear war breakout.”
He pointed to the recent formation of the Nuclear Consultative Group, through which the United States hopes to integrate its nuclear capacity better with South Korea’s conventional forces, with the two allies increasing information sharing and contingency planning.
Kim said the group was “committed to the planning, operation and execution of a preemptive nuclear strike against the DPRK,” the official name of the North, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The US is now moving on to the practical stage of realizing its sinister intention to provoke a nuclear war by frequently dispatching strategic nuclear submarines and strategic nuclear bombers carrying nuclear weapons in and around the Korean peninsula for the first time in decades,” he said.
North Korea has triggered condemnation from the United States, Japan, and South Korea through a series of defiant missile tests.
President Joe Biden‘s administration has repeatedly said that it is open to dialogue with North Korea without preconditions, but Pyongyang has shown no interest in working-level talks.
Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump held three historic in-person meetings with the totalitarian state’s leader Kim Jong Un, succeeding in reducing tensions but not producing any lasting agreement.