UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea’s ambassador called on the U.N. Security Council Wednesday to urgently discuss the recent U.S. joint naval exercise near the Korean peninsula, calling it preparation for a pre-emptive strike and nuclear war against his country.
Ja Song Nam said in a letter, a copy of which was sent to The Associated Press, that the naval exercise was the largest “waged with general mobilization of the nuclear strategic assets” after U.S. President Donald Trump last month “made the most ferocious declaration of war in history by claiming to ‘totally destroy’ the DPRK.” Those are the initials of the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Ja said the naval exercise, which began Oct. 16 and involved the nuclear aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, three nuclear submarines, Aegis destroyers and more than 40 other battleships and fighter aircraft “of all kinds,” increased tensions on the Korean peninsula.
The five-day naval drills with the South Korean navy came ahead of Trump’s first official visit to Asia next month, which is likely to be overshadowed by tensions with North Korea over its escalating nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The U.S. and South Korea regularly conduct joint military exercises that Pyongyang condemns as invasion rehearsals.
“What cannot be overlooked,” the DPRK’s Ja said, “is the fact that the U.S., not being contented with the joint military exercise on the Korean peninsula, is kicking up the racket of military pressure upon the DPRK on a worldwide scale and is becoming more undisguised in its attempt to introduce NATO and other armed forces of its followers into the Korean peninsula in case of emergency.”
In the letter addressed to France’s U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre, the current Security Council president, he asked for the council to bring up the U.S. joint military exercise as an “urgent agenda item,” saying “these military exercises constitute (a) clear threat to international peace and security.”
“No other country in the world than the DPRK has ever been subjected to such an extreme and direct nuclear threat from the U.S. for such a long time and witnessed on its door such nuclear war exercises which are the most vicious and ferocious in their scale, style, aim and essence,” the ambassador said.
North Korea has repeatedly urged the Security Council to discuss U.S.-South Korea military exercises, but its requests have never been taken up. The United States is a permanent, veto-wielding council member.
If the council ignores the DPRK request again, Ja said, it will demonstrate “more clearly” that the U.N.’s most powerful body is only a “political tool” of the United States.
The DPRK ambassador, in a separate letter, reiterated a request for the secretary-general to organize an international forum of lawyers to clarify the legal basis of the Security Council’s increasingly tough sanctions resolutions, imposed in response to its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
Ja suggested several issues for discussion including: Why was North Korea’s satellite launch prohibited when international law “stipulates that peaceful use of outer space is an inalienable sovereignty of the state?” Why are North Korea’s nuclear tests banned when the nuclear test ban treaty has not yet come into effect?
In March, Ja said the U.N. Secretariat should not again respond with the “preposterous out-of-date sophistries” that it is up to the Security Council to determine what constitutes a threat to international peace and security.