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US, North Korea at odds over UN Security Council resolutions violation

A short-range missile is <strong></strong>launched from Kusong, North Pyongan Province, in northwestern North Korea, May 9, in this photo released the following day by the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). North Korea fired two short-range missiles into the sea off its east coast five days after its launch of multiple 'unidentified' projectiles on May 4. KCNA-Yonhap
A short-range missile is launched from Kusong, North Pyongan Province, in northwestern North Korea, May 9, in this photo released the following day by the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). North Korea fired two short-range missiles into the sea off its east coast five days after its launch of multiple "unidentified" projectiles on May 4. KCNA-Yonhap

By Jung Da-min

The United States and North Korea are at odds over whether North Korea's launch of short-range missiles earlier in the month was a violation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions regulating North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear technologies.

The U.S. Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters in Washington on Tuesday that the department's view is that North Korea's whole weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program is in conflict with the UNSC resolutions.

"I think that the entire North Korean WMD program, it's in conflict with the U.N. security resolutions," Ortagus said, adding that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is focused on supporting U.S. President Donald Trump in efforts to negotiate a peaceful end to North Korea's WMD program.

Although the spokeswoman did not mention the word "missile" directly, missile is one of the WMD categories along with chemical weapons, according to the U.S. interpretation.

Earlier this week, North Korea indirectly admitted it fired ballistic missiles by saying any object launched is "bound to fly in trajectory," in reference to the North's firing of "unidentified" projectiles and short-range missiles on May 4 and 9.

"What the U.S. is taking issue with is not about the range but the prohibition of the launch itself using ballistic technology," North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said in a statement carried on the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) website, Monday.

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"This is, after all, tantamount to a demand that the DPRK should give up its self-defensive right."

The North's foreign ministry in the latest statement said it had "neither recognized nor was bound by them," with those resolutions being "illegal and outrageous" in that they deny the right to the existence and development of a sovereign state.

The North issued the statement to condemn U.S. National Security Adviser Jon Bolton who said last Saturday that there was "no doubt that North Korea has violated the resolution," speaking in Tokyo ahead of Trump's four-day visit to Japan from May 25 to 28.

It said the country's latest military drill involving short-range missiles was an "internal matter," as they neither targeted anyone nor endangered nearby countries.

Trump, meanwhile, has been seen to be at odds with his advisers over North Korea's missile launches, giving a middle-of-the-road response.

"North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me," Trump tweeted last Saturday, the same day Bolton for the first time as a senior U.S. government official has confirmed North Korea launched ballistic missiles in violation of the U.N. resolutions.

The U.S. State Department spokeswoman on Tuesday did not give a direct answer to a question asking whether the department takes sides with Bolton or Trump, only saying that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is committed to denuclearization efforts in coordination with U.S. Special Representative to North Korea Steve Biegun and Trump.

Asked about the U.S. State Department's assessment on whether the North's launches were violations of the U.N. resolutions, Ortagus said there was no public assessment that she could share.

UNSC resolutions 1718 and 1874, passed in 2006 and 2009 respectively, ban North Korea from conducting any launch of ballistic missiles as well as any further nuclear tests.



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