North Korea criticizes UN chief over support for sanctions
By EDITH M. LEDERER
Feb. 22, 2018
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea sharply criticized U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday for supporting sanctions to pressure the country into negotiations with the U.S. on denuclearization, saying he appears to be acting as a "henchman" representing the United States.
North Korea's U.N. Mission stressed in a statement that there would be no nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula if there was no "hostile policy" by the United States from its founding over 70 years ago — and if that policy hadn't intensified "into nuclear blackmails and threats."
The mission called Guterres' remarks to the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 16 "reckless" and "ill-minded behavior based on extreme prejudice without any consideration of impartiality" — and without saying "even a single word against the U.S. who is (the) main culprit for all aggravation of current situation."
Guterres told the conference that for the first time since the end of the Cold War the world is facing the "threat of a nuclear conflict."
Successively tougher sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council to pressure North Korea are "absolutely essential to be maintained," he said.
"The pressure also creates the opportunity for diplomatic engagement aiming at the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," he told the conference, urging international efforts to promote talks between the U.S. and North Korea.
Guterres noted improved relations between North Korea and South Korea at the Winter Olympics in recent weeks.
"But even if the relations between the two Koreas improved, let's be clear that is not the central question we are facing," he said. "The central question remains the question of denuclearization."
North Korea's Mission asked Guterres "to refrain from his behavior acts like somnambulist" and understand that the nuclear threat is from the U.S. which is developing more sophisticated nuclear weapons and has disclosed "its ambition for nuclear pre-emptive attacks" against the North.
The statement reaffirmed that North Korea's nuclear forces are serving as a "strong deterrent to any nuclear threat and reckless, risky military provocation of the U.S."
If Guterres really wants to solve the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula, the mission said he should urge the Security Council to welcome "the process of improved inter-Korean relations" and discourage neighboring countries "from disturbing the process."