North Korea is defiantly prepared and willing to face further sanctions as a result of fulfilling its intention to launch further satellites, DPRK ambassador to the United Kingdom Hyon Hak Bong said on Wednesday.
The ambassador, speaking at a Chatham House event in London, made the remarks when answering a question regarding the prospects of further sanctions if a launch is conducted.
“We will go ahead, we will go ahead,” Hyon said. “We have nothing to be afraid of. We will go ahead definitely, surely.
“If they … pass resolutions or sanctions, this (will be viewed as) a provocation and … can make the situation worse,” he said. “I assure you that (the launch) is for a peaceful purpose.”
Hyon’s comments reveal North Korea’s willingness to face further international punishment and condemnation for pursuing further satellite launches – which according to South Korea’s foreign minister – are already being devised.
ROK foreign minister Yun Byung-se this week told reporters that the UN is currently exploring options for further sanctions should Pyongyang go ahead with a launch, or if it conducts a fourth nuclear test.
“The Security Council has begun working-level studies into measures that would be stronger than before and sure to be painful to North Korea,” Yun was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency as saying on Tuesday, following meetings with U.S. and Japanese counterparts in New York City.
But on Wednesday Hyon appeared to even welcome the prospect of new sanctions following further North Korean satellite launches.
“I heard that three countries met yesterday … they said there will be new sanctions,” he said. “Please do that, please do that. We’ll welcome (that), we’ll try to cope, we’ll try another measure to cope with that one.”
The event opened with the ambassador presenting his assessment of current issues on the peninsula: perceived U.S. aggression towards the DPRK, a lack of sincerity in inter-Korean engagement by South Korea, and his government’s position on reunification.
Following his speech Hyon responded to questions from the audience and Chatham House Asia Program Director John Nillson-Wright on a range of issues including the Japanese abduction issue, North Korea’s nuclear policy, chemical weapons production and comparisons between the development successes of South and North Korea.
Hyon, referencing recent inter-Korean tensions, described the explosion of a mine along the Demilitarized Zone, which resulted in severe injuries to two South Korean soldiers, as “unfortunate,” but denied any involvement of the North Korean government.
“Whats the use of wounding a few South Korean soldiers while the world is watching? While South Koreans is (sic) trying to get the pretext of making confrontation towards it,” Hyon said.
The ambassador pointed out that North Korea was the first side to initiate and offer high-level emergency talks to end the tense standoff, which saw both North and South Korean militaries placed on high alert following a rapid escalation in threats.
Overall, North Korea maintains its space program is for peaceful purposes, a point reiterated by Hyon on Wednesday.
However, many believe that the program and satellite launches are being conducted to further the country’s ballistic missile program.
Earlier in 2015 a UN panel of experts report stated that NADA, whose researchers recently declared a satellite launch as being “imminent,” is in control of facilities responsible also for ballistic missile research.
“The National Aerospace Development Administration has taken over the function and responsibilities of the Korean Committee for Space Technology, which defies the (UN) resolutions. It has also taken over the country’s General Satellite Control and Command Center,” the report read.
Main picture: Korea Pictorial
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