PYONGYANG, North Korea – North Korean officials lashed out Monday at efforts in the United Nations to strengthen sanctions following the North's latest missile launches and nuclear test in September.
The officials told an Associated Press Television crew in Pyongyang that sanctions targeting the nuclear and missile tests are "criminal documents" and accused the United States of orchestrating the condemnation.
The United Nations has imposed sanctions on North Korea since 2006 for its nuclear tests and rocket launches. Last week, the U.N. Security Council called on members to "redouble their sanction efforts."
"The sanction resolutions of the U.N. Security Council are illegal criminal documents," Pang Kwang Hyok, vice director of the department of international organizations at the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the APTN crew in Pyongyang. The North's mission to the U.N. issued a similar statement that was distributed by North Korean state media on Monday.
"These resolutions determined that our nuclear tests and satellite launches pose threats to international peace and security, but then the problem is why has the U.N. Security Council never taken issue with the nuclear tests and satellite launches conducted by other countries?" Pang said.
The issue has intensified since the United States and South Korea said they detected two failed North Korean missile launches this month, possibly of Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
The U.N.'s most powerful body, in a statement approved last week by its 15 members, deplored all North Korean missile tests, saying they contribute to the country's "development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and increase tension."
Security Council members called on all countries "to redouble their efforts" to implement sanctions and expressed regret that Pyongyang is diverting resources when its citizens "have great unmet needs."
Musudan missiles have a potential range of about 3,500 kilometers (2,180 miles), which would put U.S. military bases in Guam within their striking distance.
Pang repeated the North's claim that sanctions won't stop Pyongyang from developing its nuclear arsenal.
"I can state that it is a complete miscalculation to think that any sanctions or pressure can have any effect on us," he said.