DPRK developing nuclear weapons to prevent US invasion, minister says

UN General Assembly

North Korea Minister for Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho speaks during the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at the U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Foreign Minister took to the stage at the United Nations on Saturday, addressing the General Assembly after a threat to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific. This comes as the U.S. flew strategic bombers near the DPRK in a show of “U.S. resolve.”

CGTN’s Nathan King reports.

Ri Yong Ho took the podium at the United Nations after a week of escalating tensions between Pyongyang and Washington. He immediately addressed the U.S. president’s labeling of DPRK leader Kim Jong-Un a ‘rocket man’ on a suicide mission, and threatened war.

“Due to his lacking of basic common knowledge and proper sentiment, he tried to insult the supreme dignity of my country by referring to it as a rocket. By doing so, however, he committed an irreversible mistake of having our rockets visit the entire U.S. mainland inevitable all the more. None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission. In case innocent lives in the U.S. are harmed because of this suicide attack, Trump will be held solely responsible.”

But behind the rhetoric, Ri Yong Ho said that the sole reason for the DPRK’s nuclear program was to deter the U.S. from attacking.

“Our national nuclear force is to all intents and purposes a war deterrent for putting an end to the nuclear threat of the U.S., and for preventing its military invasion. Our ultimate goal is to establish balance of power with the US.”

Ri also claimed the DPRK is now close to completing its state nuclear force, and his country’s decision to develop nuclear weapons is because of U.S. policy after the Korean War.

Pyongyang, according to the foreign minister, would not target any countries that did not “join with the U.S. in violence.”

Sourabh Gupta of Institute for China-America Studies on DPRK speech at UN

CGTN’s Susan Roberts interviewed Sourabh Gupta, senior Asia-Pacific international relations policy specialist at the Institute for China-America Studies about the significance of the speech given by the DPRK foreign minister at the U.N. General Assembly.