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PoliticsNorth Korea

North Korea 'bitterly condemns' UN talks on satellite launch

June 4, 2023

The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un accused the UN of acting as a "political appendage" to the United States. She vowed that her country would push for a second attempt to launch a spy satellite.

A TV screen shows a file image of Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, during a news program
Kim Yo Jong is the North Korean leader's youngest sister and has been playing an increasingly prominent role on the international stageImage: Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo/picture alliance

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Jo Jong, sharply criticized the UN Security Council (UNSC) for a "most unfair" meeting held over Pyongyang's failed spy satellite launch, state media reported on Sunday.

"I am very unpleased that the UNSC so often calls to account the DPRK's exercise of its rights as a sovereign state at the request of the US," Kim Yo Jong said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, referring to North Korea by its official name.

"(I) bitterly condemn and reject it as the most unfair and biased act of interfering in its internal affairs and violating its sovereignty," she said.

What happened at the UN council talks?

North Korea's new Chillima-1 rocket carrying a spy satellite lost thrust and crashed into the sea with its payload on Wednesday, Pyongyang said in a rare same-day announcement, adding another test will be conducted soon without specifying a date. 

N. Korean satellite launch fails, Seoul retrieves wreckage

The United States and South Korea, close allies, denounced the launch, saying it violated UN resolutions barring a nuclear-armed country from any tests using ballistic missile technology.

Rosemary DiCarlo, UN's under-secretary-general for political and peace-building affairs called the security council out on its "lack of unity and action" against North Korea's frequent tests.

The UN Security Council has a total of 15 members, including the five permanent members: China, France, Russia, the UK and the US. The permanent members hold veto power which North Korean allies China and Russia have used in the past to block UN action on Pyongyang.

In her statement on Sunday, Kim Yo Jong also criticized the security council, but for being a "political appendage" of the US, saying the recent UN meeting was convened following America's "gangster-like request."

She further said the UN Council was discriminatory since other nations have launched thousands of satellites that are already operating in space. Her country's attempt to position a spy satellite is a legitimate step to respond to military threats posed by the US and its allies, she said.

Threat of launch without warning

North Korea on Sunday also threatened to not notify the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of future satellite launches in advance in protest of its condemnation of the several missile tests.

The IMO, on Wednesday, adopted a rare resolution denouncing North Korea for conducting the satellite launch without proper notification which "seriously threatened the safety of seafarers and international shipping."

North Korean defector: 'We are not traitors'

Since the start of 2022, Kim has carried out over 100 missile tests in what he called a warning over expanded military drills between the US and South Korea.

In a statement carried by state media, a North Korean international affairs analyst, Kim Myong Chol, said the IMO resolution indicated that North Korea's advance launch notice "is no longer necessary."

"In the future, IMO should know and take measures by itself over the period of (North Korea's) satellite launch and the impact point of its carrier and be prepared to take full responsibility for all the consequences from it."

North Korea had earlier notified the IMO and Japan of the satellite launch to take place between May 31 and June 11.

Who is Kim Yo Jong?

Kim Yo Jong is the influential and powerful younger sister of the reclusive nation's supreme leader, Kim Jong Un. Korean observers say the 35-year-old, who is also a senior ruling party member, shares a strong bond with her brother.

The US Treasury has previously imposed sanctions on Kim Yo Jong along with other North Korean officials for committing "severe human rights abuses."

In a previous interview with DW, Michael Madden, a North Korea expert at Johns Hopkins University's "38 North" website, said that Kim Yo Jong was one of the North Korean dictator's "closest confidantes."

mk/rs (AFP, AP)