North Korea said the United States and the UN Security Council are “tampering with a dangerous time bomb” following a meeting over the isolated nation’s most recent ballistic missile test, state media reported.
Pyongyang claims it successfully test-fired a new ballistic missile from a submarine on Tuesday, following months of seesawing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The UN Security Council held a closed-door meeting Wednesday to discuss North Korea in the wake of the test.
In an article by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the US had taken “provocative moves” by calling for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
“When doing the recent test-firing we did not have the US in mind nor aimed at it, but it is the work which had already been planned purely for the defense of the country,” the ministry said, according to KCNA. “So there is no need for the US to worry or trouble itself over the test-firing.”
France, Ireland and Estonia issued a joint statement after the UN Security Council meeting, calling for strict enforcement of sanctions against North Korea, which is barred from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons under international law.
The countries called the launch a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions and asked North Korea to engage in talks.
US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said North Korea’s submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test was “the latest in a series of reckless provocations” by the country.
“Each new advancement of the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs destabilizes the region and threatens international peace and security,” Thomas-Greenfield said, referring to North Korea by its official name.
She added the US has offered to meet North Korean officials “without any preconditions” and “we have made clear that we hold no hostile intent toward the DPRK.”
North Korea said its SLBM test launch was “part of the normal activities” and “did not pose any threat or damage to the security of neighboring countries and the region.”
“If the US does not take issue with the DPRK’s regular and legitimate exercise of the sovereign right, no tension will be caused on the Korean peninsula but if the US and its vassal forces persist with opting for a wrong action, it may act as a catalyst for more serious consequences,” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said, according to KCNA.
KCNA said the SLBM was launched from the “8.24 Yongung” sub – the same vessel used to test North Korea’s first SLBM in 2016.
The report said “lots of advanced control guidance technologies” had been included in the missile, which would “greatly contribute to putting the defense technology of the country on a high level and to enhancing the underwater operational capability of our navy.”
Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, told CNN Wednesday that North Korea had tested only a small number of SLBMs, despite claiming for a number of years to have the capacity.
Mount said North Korea viewed SLBMs as another method to get past the missile defenses of the US and its allies, specifically South Korea and Japan. “They’re concerned our missile defenses nullify their deterrent capabilities,” he said.
This year, Pyongyang has tested a number of projectiles, including what it claimed was a new hypersonic missile in late September.
At the same time, relations have been warming between North and South Korea, with Pyongyang agreeing to reopen official communications with Seoul on October 4.
CNN’s Sonia Moghe and Ben Westcott contributed reporting.