News / Asia

North Korean Envoy Blames US for Peninsula Tensions

North Korean U.N. Ambassador Sin Son-ho speaks at a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York, June 21, 2013.
North Korean U.N. Ambassador Sin Son-ho speaks at a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York, June 21, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
North Korea’s U.N. ambassador said rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula are the fault of the United States and warned they could lead to a new war “at any moment.”  

In a rare news conference, North Korean Ambassador Sin Son Ho told reporters Friday that the United States continues its “hostile policy” toward his country, especially through its conducting of annual military exercises with South Korea and the continued existence of the U.N. Command in South Korea.

He said the U.N. Command - which is the unified command structure for the multinational military forces supporting South Korea - must be dissolved.

“The U.N. Command, fundamentally speaking, was a tool of war which was organized by the United States for the purpose of deploying its satellite forces and exercising its control over them during the last Korean War," said the ambassador. "The U.N. Command is a ghost.”

In Washington, a U.S. State Department spokesman said the U.N. command is something that's been in Korea for many years and will continue to be.

Over the past week, North Korea has tried to hold talks with the South, but they were cancelled because of a disagreement over protocol. Pyongyang also offered to hold senior-level talks with the United States. Sin said the discussions could be “broad and in-depth” and settle all outstanding issues between the two nations.

“In other words, every issue could be possible to be settled once and for all if the United States has a true and genuine willingness to cooperate with the DPRK without any hostility for establishing peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the region,” said Sin.

The United States has said it is open to "credible" negotiations with Pyongyang, but that it must take steps toward "concrete denuclearization" before any talks take place.

The North Korean ambassador also urged the United States and international community to end economic sanctions against his country, but defiantly said his people would survive even if they continue.

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