North Korea says satellite spied on White House as ambassador mocks US accusations at UN
New York, New York - North Korea's ambassador made a rare appearance at the UN Security Council on Monday to defend his country's launch of a spy satellite as leader Kim Jong-un studied images including of the White House and Pentagon.
Western powers, Japan, and South Korea have said North Korea violated Security Council resolutions by launching the satellite last week.
Pyongyang has said that its new eye in the sky has already provided images of major US and South Korea military sites, as well as photos of the Italian capital Rome.
On Monday it took "in detail" images of the White House and the Pentagon in Washington, according to state-run KCNA news agency, which said Kim was reviewing the photos.
He also counted some aircraft carriers at a military base and a shipyard in the neighboring state of Virginia, the report said.
North Korean and US ambassadors to UN clash
At the Security Council, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, Kim Song, complained that other countries faced no restrictions on satellites.
"No other nation in the world is in the security environment as critical as the DPRK," said Kim, using the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"One belligerent party, the United States, is threatening us with a nuclear weapon," he said.
"It is a legitimate right for the DPRK as another belligerent party to develop, test, manufacture and possess weapons systems equivalent to those that the United States possesses or is developing."
He mocked US charges that satellite technology also helped North Korea hone its missile capacity, questioning whether the US put satellites into orbit "with a catapult."
The US ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, rejected North Korea's self-defense claims and said that joint US-South Korean exercises were "routine" and "defensive in nature."
"We intentionally reduce risk and pursue transparency by announcing the exercises in advance including the dates and the activities, unlike the DPRK," she said, adding that the drills did not violate Security Council resolutions.
China accuses US of "aggravating tension"
Russia and China, North Korea's main ally, have put forward a resolution, opposed by the US, to ease sanctions on Pyongyang as part of an effort to encourage dialogue.
Chinese envoy Geng Shuang accused Washington of "further aggravating tension and confrontation" through its military alliance with South Korea.
"If the DPRK constantly feels threatened, and its legitimate security concerns remain unresolved, the peninsula will not be able to get out of the security dilemma and only be caught in a vicious cycle of tit-for-tat aggressive moves," he said.
Cover photo: via REUTERS