Pyongyang’s aviation authority described the launches as justified self-defense against “direct military threats” from the US.
North Korean missile tests are nothing more than “normal and planned” acts of self-defense against Washington’s “direct military threats,” a spokesman for the country’s aviation authority said on Saturday.
Over the last 12 days, the DPRK has conducted six launches, including Tuesday’s of an intermediate-range missile over Japan. Its actions have prompted international condemnation.
“Our missile launches are a normal and planned self-defense to protect the safety of the country and regional peace from direct military threats from the United States that have continued for more than half a century,” a spokesman for the country’s Aviation Administration said, as quoted by the Korean Central News Agency.
The spokesman also accused the US of “using any means” to prevent North Korea from “exercising its right to self-defense,” including through “politicization” of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The spokesman was referring to a recent statement of the ICAO Council in which the organization’s governing body blamed Pyongyang for violating “multiple Security Council resolutions” and posing a threat to “not only the region, but to the entire international community.”
Saying that North Korea “firmly condemns and rejects” the ICAO’s accusations, the aviation watchdog’s representative emphasized that “the safety of commercial aircraft flying internationally has been fully considered in advance.”
Last week was marked by a significant increase in tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Two days ago, the South Korean military reported that it had to scramble 30 fighter jets in response to what appeared to be large-scale drills by Pyongyang.
The news came hours after North Korea, which has conducted a record number of missile launches this year, fired two short-range ballistic missiles in an eastward direction. Pyongyang described the move as a “just counteraction” after several rounds of joint military drills between the US and South Korea. The DPRK has long considered such exercises as rehearsals for an invasion.
The latest launches came the day after Seoul confirmed that in response to North Korea’s “successive provocations and threats,” the US would redeploy the US aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Ronald Reagan near the South Korean coast.