North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and United Nations missions issued responses to the international community’s denunciation of its Hwasong-10 medium- and long-range strategic ballistic missiles.Previously, the UN Security Council (UNSC) released a statement to the press denouncing the launch of the missiles, which are presumed to be Musudan.
In its response, North Korea reiterated its general plans to “continue taking steps to strengthen the military deterrent as long as the US nuclear threat persists.” At the same time, it reaffirmed conclusions reached at its recent Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) congress on steps to improve relations with Washington, with references to “normalizing ties with countries that respect our autonomy.”
In a particularly notable turn, the two sides exchanged dialogue in the form of position statements.On June 24, North Korea’s UN mission sent the US State Department a “response notice” stating that the “continued adoption of measures to strengthen the nuclear deterrent in response to the US’s nuclear threat with its strategic assets is a self-defense measure,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on June 25.“On June 23, the US State Department gave notice of its position that the test-launch of the Hwasong-10 was a violation of UNSC resolutions,” the KCNA noted.
But while the response reiterated Pyongyang’s basic position in the past, the exchange of “positions” with Washington was a notable development.Following the Hwasong-10 test launch, leader Kim Jong-un declared on June 22 that North Korea “now has the definite ability to strike the US bastards within the Pacific operational zone.” In other words, the test launch on June 22 prompted the US State Department to communicate its criticisms to the North the following day, which was followed by Pyongyang’s response on June 24. With the possibility that other, undisclosed details were shared between the two sides, it‘s a situation that warrants close observation going ahead.