KOREA NEWS North Korea Warns US as Border Moves Reported

North Korea Warns US as Border Moves Reported

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North Korea has doubled down on what it has called its “sovereign rights” in a blistering attack on the U.S. amid reports of Pyongyang bolstering its presence on the border with South Korea.

Long-simmering tensions between North Korea and its southern neighbor, a firm U.S. ally, sharply escalated last week after Pyongyang launched a rocket thought to contain the country’s “Malligyong-1” reconnaissance satellite.

North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, celebrated the launch as heralding a “new era of space power.” But South Korea increased surveillance along the countries’ borders and partially suspended an agreement aimed at keeping a lid on border tensions. Pyongyang then fully voided the agreement.

North Korean soldiers have been present at numerous, previously out-of-use guard posts along the border between the two countries since Friday, Seoul’s defense ministry said.

A television screen in Seoul shows footage of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un on November 22, 2023. North Korea has doubled down on what it has called its “sovereign rights” in an attack on the U.S. on Monday.
Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

“The DPRK will squarely, unhesitatingly and perfectly exercise its sovereign rights including satellite launch, and this will contribute to the establishment of a just and equal new international order,” Kim Son Gyong, a senior official in North Korea’s foreign ministry, said on Monday, referring to the official name for the secretive nation, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

North Korea’s foreign ministry positioned the launch as a move directly linked to Washington, calling the satellite “a legitimate and just exercise of the right to self-defense aimed at correctly seeing through and thoroughly coping with the grave military moves of the U.S. and its followers.”

“No matter what critical statements and harshest-ever sanctions the U.S. and its vassal forces may issue or impose, they can neither check the DPRK’s exercise of its sovereign rights nor get what they want,” Pyongyang said.

The U.S. State Department, releasing a joint-statement on the launch along with other G7 nations, describing it as “a grave threat to the peace and stability of the region and beyond.”

“Any launch using ballistic missile technology, even if it is characterized as a military reconnaissance satellite, constitutes a clear, flagrant violation of relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions,” the nations collectively said last week.

Newsweek has contacted the Pentagon for comment by email.

The United Nations similarly condemned the launch, which it said used ballistic missile technology, which is “contrary to the relevant Security Council resolutions.”

“If the U.S. and its vassal forces again seek to violate the sovereignty of the DPRK under the pretext of the utterly unlawful ‘resolution’ of the UNSC [United Nations Security Council], they will be held wholly accountable for any consequences to be entailed by it,” North Korea’s foreign ministry said on Monday.

It is not yet clear how functional the satellite is. If it was indeed successful, the surveillance satellite could “significantly contribute to enhancing the North Korean tactical nuclear force’s precision strike capabilities by closely monitoring the pre-emptive strike targets of South Korea and the U.S. through the reconnaissance satellite system,” Lim Eul-chul, a professor of North Korean studies at South Korea’s Kyungnam University, told South Korean media shortly after the launch. “This essentially means the North’s advancement of pre-emptive strike capabilities.”

On Saturday, Pyongyang’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim Jong Un had seen photographs taken by the spy satellite, showing U.S. Navy aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson, that arrived at the South Korean port of Busan last week.

The North Korean leader also viewed images of the U.S. Navy’s Pearl Harbor base, and the Hickam air base in Honolulu, Hawaii, the news agency reported.

Following the reported launch, the Pentagon said it was aware of Pyongyang’s efforts and were consulting with Seoul and Tokyo, as well as other U.S. allies in the region.