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North Korea Rep Tells ICP of Scam UN Command, Ban on Film & “UN” on CV

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 1, updated with transcript -- When North Korean deputy ambassador Ri Tong Il held a UN press conference on August 1, it was to describe his government's July 21 letter to the UN Security Council requesting an emergency meeting about the US - South Korean joint military exercises.

  Inner City Press asked Ri Tong Il if he had asked for the letter to be formally circulated, and if to his knowledge any Council member had brought up the request in their bilateral meetings with UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, the Council's president for August. Or would North Korea take it to the General Assembly?

  Ri Tong Il replied that it is not a question of approaching individual countries, but a formal request to the Security Council. Inner City Press inquired with the mission of Rwanda, July's president, and got a copy of the letter and the response that there was no consensus for holding the requested emergency meeting. Inner City Press has put the letter online here.

  Also, at the bottom of this page is a fast transcript of the press conference, by Inner City Press & the Free UN Coalition for Access.

Inner City Press also asked Ri Tong Il for an update on his mission's announcement thirteen months ago that it sought the end of the so-called “UN Command” in South Korea. Ri Tong Il said his country remains opposed to it:

On UN command, the DPRK is consistently insisting on the dismantling of UN Command in South Korea. This is a UN body but not under the direction of the UN, it is not under the approval of its budget. If you look at the inside nature, 100 percent US troops. This is a typical example of position of power by the US. It should be dismantled. And we are raising it to the UN on a regular basis.

  Later on August 1 Inner City Press asked Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, if Ban has received North Korea's letter complaining about the Seth Rogen film “The Interview.” (Inner City Press has commented on the letter, here.). Dujarric said the letter has been received, but Ban has no response.

  Ban, of course, was South Korea's foreign minister. His c.v. or biography, including for a recent op-ed about Haiti (where the UN brought cholera and then has dodged accountability), states that Ban previously served as “Director of the UN’s International Organizations and Treaties Bureau.”

 Other iterations say he was director of the “UN’s International Organizations and Treaties Bureau in South Korea, Seoul” (here). So was that really a UN (or “UN's”) agency? Or is is like the UN Command? Watch this site.

Footnote: In Ri Tong Il's press conference, the UN Correspondents Association demanded the first question, and gave it to a representative of a media from Japan - another representative of which took a second question, before other media got even one. While both are genial, this is how UNCA, a/k/a the UN's Censorship Alliance, works.

The new Free UN Coalition for Access is opposed to any set-asides or automatic first questions. Also, despite the continued censorship of the question, the Free UN Coalition for Access believes that at a minimum the UN should disclose “in kind” (or gift) private jet travel for Ban Ki-moon paid for by a state. We'll have more on this.

Fast transcript:

Good morning, distinguished colleagues. Thank you for your time. In today’s briefing I’d like to introduce the US-South Korea joint military exercises. It’s a serious nature and the formal request made by the DPRK upon the UN Security Council with regard to the join military exercises.
First, I’d like to talk about the US South Korea joint military exercises. As you know every year the US is continuing to open joint military exercises, large scale, one after another, thereby increasing tension and bringing about crisis of war on the Korean peninsula. The US has been holding large scale joint military exercises since 1953, after the end of the Korean war, ceasefire. And if you look at the number, they were holding these exercises, it is estimated at over 18,000 times. Now, if you calculate that figure, it is estimated one joint military exercise almost every year.

Now with regard to what kind of nature it is carrying, with regard to the situation on the Korean peninsula. The US is not hiding that the objective of their large scale joint military exercises with South Korea is to eliminate DPRK militarily. In this century, the first decade, the US declared the objective is to bring about regime change of the DPRK. In 2011, in August and November, the US conducted large scale joint military exercises with South Korea aimed at so-called stabilization and transition to civilian government in North Korea. In 2012, in March and May the US again conducted massive landing exercises targeted at Pyongyang. And in August they also conducted joint military exercises.

Coming into this year, 2014, the US already conducted and openly declared the objective of the exercises was to occupy Pyongyang.

If you look at another part of the serious nature of this joint military exercises, there is a very serious nature of 3 year old nuclear strike means, and most sophisticated weapons of mass destruction and massive number of troops. Now every time the joint military exerices open George Washingtom super large aircraft carrier along with other vessels and nuclear powered submarines and B52 bombers with nuclear weapons do not hesitate to come into South Korea.
This month in the middle of August will open another joint military exercise, involving over 500,000 US troops and a ground, naval, and air forces from South Korea. If you look at another part of the serious nature in terms of duration, it cannot compare to any other part of the world. If you look at the other large scale exercises conducted by the US, they cover one week, maximum one month, and not every year. Every two years, or after some years. However, the US South Korea joint exercises go beyond two months.

In March, the US issued a report naming the DPRK the state of direct threat and the so-called biggest adversary of the US. Openly announcing that in case of failure of the deterrents against DPRK they will enforce their own nuclear forces for suppression of the DPRK. This clearly indicates what kid of purpose these joint military exercises are pressuring.
The US has been conducting for almost 6 decades and they are carrying the nature of aggression against the DPRK in view of their nature and scale. On whatever ground, the US is making ridiculous argument on the threats and provocation of the DPRK to deceive the world. This will demonstrate that the major source of provocation on the Korean peninsula is none other than the United States.
I will talk about the defensive measures of the DPRK.
Now the ground, naval defense and air defense forces of the Korean people’s army are staging the ballistic tactical rocket launches of ultra precision and artillery fire in order to increase the power of self-defense. All these rocket launches are giving great strength and encouragement to the Korean people’s army and the people so that they can make steadfast progress in nation building based on this strong self defense. It is because all these successful launches are taking place in the middle of aggressive provocative military exercises of war against the DPRK.
It is the right of every sovereign state to have the right to defend its own sovereignty and peace and safeguard itself by military strength. The ongoing tactical rocket launches being conducted by the DPRK is natural, more than justifiable, because this is in response to the grave situation created by the large scale joint military exercises. And because of these ones the danger is increased. The environment for security and peace is not gifted by anyone, it is not commodity someone can buy or sell. Peace can be safeguarded only one’s own power is strengthened so trhat nobody can provoke. When there is no one’s own power, one can easily fall victim to the bargaining chip of power countries, and the important, valuable history inherited with bloody struggle can instantly be lost. This is a historical lesson. The DPRK has been warning the US and South Korea to stop all these dangerous exercises.
Coming into this year last January, the DPRK supreme governing body issued proposal, followed by open letter. Last June, the National Defense commission advanced another proposal, and last July DPRK government issued a statement. All these proposals converning the proposal on full-scale suspension of these exercises, and DPRK went ahead with generous initiative on its own.
However, every time we came to propose, the US and South Korean authorities made challenge by responding and opening provocative joint military exercises together, disregarding the sincerity and generosity of the DPRK. Last February, the US flew into South Korea B52 bombers equipped with nuclear eweapons when Northand South Korea were sitting together face ot face on a dialogue table to come to agreement.
There was another provocation last July. Again, North and South Korea were sitting together to discuss the participation of North Korean players in the Asian games. US did not hesitate to bring in South Korea George Washington super large nuclear powered aircraft carrier.
The US is misbehaving militarily in order to undermine dialogue, and North_South relations improvement. It is reminding us of the historical last symptom of mentally retarded patients.
Despite the fact that the US is the major source of increased tension, the US raised the question of tactical rocket launches of the DPRK at the UN security council and brought about so-called condemnation of the DPRK on the ground of so-called violation of UNSC resolution.
So third, I will talk about the request made by the DPRK upon the UNSC with regard to the US South Korea joint military exercises. The US and South Korea joint military exercise is the root cause of the aggravation of tension on the Korean peninsula and the peace and security cannot be guaranteed. Last July 21, the DPRK presented a formal request to the Security Council to open emergency meeting with regard to these exercises. If the UNSC is genuinely serious about the peace and security of the Korean peninsula, the UNSC should discuss the matter very seriously. If the UNSC turns away from this request, for the emergency meeting, it will only expose itself as a UN body which lost principles, lost impartiality, lost responsisbility with its mandate of securing international peace and security.

As long as the UNSC continues to disregard and turn away, in contravention of its mandate, DPRK will go alone. The situation on the Korean peninsula proves the pursuance and adoption of the parallel line policy of national economic building based on powerful nuclear deterrents is the right choice DPRK made. As long as the US continues blackmail, the DPRK will strengthen and consolidate its nuclear deterrent. As long as the US continues joint military exercises, the counter actions will become annual and routine.
In the process of continued dangerous joint military exercises, if there is any spark it will easily turn into war and the full responsibility will lie with the US and the UNSC who illegally support the US.
Q: to clarify, you intend to request a Security Council meeting?

A: As I said in my opening remarks, DPRK gave an official letter in the name of the PR of the DPRK to the United Nations on July 21, addressed to the president of the UNSC, officially requesting to put the question of joint military exercises into the agenda and openly discuss it in the form of emergency meeting. But so far there is no reply from the president. Maybe it is a silent procedure. I don’t think this is a silent procedure. They are ignoring. Disregarding. This is showing the working method of the UNSC which is a common concern of the UN member states.

Q: What outcome would you expect from the UNSC?

A: I introduced the nature of the military exercises being conducted by the US. It is not their land. It is Korean land. Now they are holding it for over 6 decades, unnoticed by the international community. We continue to struggle to stop it. US simply ignored it. Every time they responded with military exercises, increasing tension and climate of war. Now we asked for this emergency meeting, it is a question of the SC mandate, and we officially presented our letter, and they already discussed last July on request of the US. US is the major source of the threat on the Korean peninsula. It is ridiculous. This country is raising the issue and condemning the DPRK self-defense tactical rocket launches.

Q: What do you mean that the US is like a mentally ill patient? And, DPRK’s neighbors say DPRK is erratic, frightening, what’s your response?

A: When you say surrounding countries, can you name?

Q: Japan. South Korea.

A: Now you see. US, South Korea, Japan, they are military allies. US has military bases in Japan and in South Korea. The question of the US behavior – this is ridiculous behavior. If they are serious about peace and security on the Korean peninsula, they should remove their troops and nuclear weapons. They should not bring weapons of mass destruction. Now I refer to US, because this is the root cause of the tension on the Korean Peninsula. DPRK has never conducted military drills at the doorstep of US, and US has been doing it for over 6 decades at our doorstep. Now they say regime change is the objective. How can you explain this behavior?
Q: The US might say they bring nuclear armed vessels into South Korea because your country has nuclear weapons. Could you address that?

And, what can you say about DPRK missiles aimed at the US?
A: Nuclear weapons of the DPRK cannot be observed in isolation from the nuclear blackmail of the US. If there was no nuclear blackmail, if the US did not pressure the policy of nuclear preemptive strike against DPRK, under Bush administration, then there would be no nuclear weapon of the DPRK. And DPRK has no other option but to go nuclear. You can imagine. No country has been living like DPRK under serious threats to its existence, threat to its survival. That’s why DPRK made an option to go nuclear with a strong nuclear deterrent.

On the long-range missiles, DPRK has made it very clear, all the long-range missiles are targeted at the US since US is targeting Pyongyang.
Q: Was there any response from the Security Council to your request?

And, what did you say would be annual?
UNSC imposed new sanction on OMM. Is this a threat to you?
A: On the first question, I already answered that.
On annual, yes, now every time these exercises are being held, this is a response from United States and they are bringing in weapons of mass destruction ot South Korea. So under this nuclear blackmail, we made it clear our counter-actions will become annual and routine. This is self defense. It can be missile launch, nuclear test, depends on the option.
Q: Has your letter to the UNSC been circulated? Has any council member tried to get it on the agenda? Any development on UN Command?

A: On the response, I already answered, nothing to add.

On UN command, the DPRK is consistently insisting on the dismantling of UN Command in South Korea. This is a UN body but not under the direction of the UN, it is not under the approval of its budget. If you look at the inside nature, 100 percent US troops. This is a typical example of position of power by the US. It should be dismantled. And we are raising it to the UN on a regular basis.
Q: Should the letter be circulated?

A: Yes. No, it’s up to, in the coming years, what kind of action it will take.
Oh yes, the sanctions. They added another one. They are continuing to add. And the sanctions and resolution are illegal. DPRK rejects as unlawful against a sovereign state. They raised the question of satellites launched by the DPRK. But every UN member has sovereign rights. And DPRK is like the other countries. It is a state party to the outer space treaties. Every state has the right to conduct research for peaceful purposes. But Japan raised the satellite launch. And if their argument of the use of ballistic missile for satellite launch, we need to look at the US technology. They are also using ballistic missiles to alunch satellites. They should be number one target for sanctions by the UNSC. This can only invite strong powerful actions by the DPRK.
Q: What about the change to article 9 in Japan’s constitution, for re-militarizing? Is your government the target?

A: The US is opening its way toward militarization. They are going to repeat past crimes by having the right to collective self-defense. The US is supporting this dangerous move of Japan. It is an international concern and a concern of the DPRK. In the case of Japan, already agreed the current administration the president visited the shrine with no apologies for past crimes. And now they’re going through military moves, the right to collective self-defense, along with the military power Japan has accumulated, you can imagine what kind of nature, based on military power they have already,


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