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(LEAD) S. Korean ruling, opposition parties blast N.K. foreign minister's U.N. speech

2017/09/24 14:39

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SEOUL, Sept. 24 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean ruling party and main opposition parties on Sunday blasted a recent speech by the North Korean foreign minister at the United Nations General Assembly, saying Pyongyang will only end up isolating itself from the international community with its threats.

Baek Hye-ryun, spokeswoman of the Democratic Party, said North Korea owes the rest of the world an apology after its top diplomat, Ri Yong-ho, made a threatening speech at the U.N. General Assembly, "where peace, human rights and international cooperation are discussed."

   "North Korea tried to justify its nuclear programs," Baek said in a statement. "But the international community will only regard the North's claims as groundless sophistry."

   On Saturday in New York, Ri said North Korea will take "merciless preventive action" if the United States shows any sign of a "decapitating operation on our headquarters or military attack against our country."

  

Baek Hye-ryun, spokeswoman for the ruling Democratic Party (Yonhap) Baek Hye-ryun, spokeswoman for the ruling Democratic Party (Yonhap)

It was in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's earlier claim that the U.S. could "totally destroy" the North over its nuclear and missile programs.

Ri said Trump was a "mentally deranged person full of megalomania."

   Baek said North Korea must remember that its strategy of maintaining its regime through nuclear development will "inevitably fail."

   "North Korea must also keep in mind that the only way to achieve the realization of international justice isn't by carrying out reckless provocations but only by taking responsible action as a member of the international community," the spokeswoman added.

Baek also took note of U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flying off the North's eastern coast Saturday.

"This showed that South Korea and the United States, under our strong alliance, are ready to take a firm response in the face of North Korean provocations," Baek said. "And this also underscored the strong determination by our two countries to hold North Korea accountable for additional provocations."

   The U.S. military said it was "the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft has flown off North Korea's coast in the 21st century."

   The main opposition Liberty Korea Party also chimed in, warning that its provocations will only cause "a complete destruction of the North Korean communist regime."

   The party's spokesman, Kang Hyo-sang, said in a statement that the international community will "absolutely not tolerate" North Korean threats.

In this Associated Press photo, North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho speaks during the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Sept. 23, 2017. (Yonhap) In this Associated Press photo, North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho speaks during the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Sept. 23, 2017. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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