North's KCNA editorial blasts U.S. for missile 'hypocrisy'

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North's KCNA editorial blasts U.S. for missile 'hypocrisy'

North Korea carries out a test-launch of an upgraded K-23 short-range ballistic missile on March 25, 2021. [YONHAP]

North Korea carries out a test-launch of an upgraded K-23 short-range ballistic missile on March 25, 2021. [YONHAP]

 
North Korea's state news agency published an editorial Monday blasting the United States for "talking about dialogue while pursuing conflict in its actions" by lifting missile restrictions on South Korea.
 
Appearing under the byline of political columnist Kim Myong-chol, the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) editorial questioned the rationale behind the allies’ agreement to scrap decades-old restrictions on South Korean missiles with the headline, “What is the target of the termination of missile restrictions?”
 
Claiming that the objective of terminating the missile restrictions was to “hinder the development” of North Korea by “fomenting an arms race,” as well as to “legalize the development of medium-range missiles aimed at our neighbors,” the editorial argued that the United States was behaving in a hypocritical manner in its attitudes toward missile development in North and South Korea.
 
“While [the United States] brands our defensive measures as violations of United Nations ‘resolutions,’ it permits its followers the right to pursue unfettered missile development,” the editorial said.
 
“This is both an expression of the anti-[North] Korean policy to which the United States so desperately clings, as well as proof of its shameless hypocrisy.”
 
The editorial also claimed that the scrapping of missile restrictions made “many countries feel that the [North] Korea policy of the Joe Biden administration is nothing more than an artifice, even if it is called a practical approach or a flexible one.”
 
Restrictions on missiles made and deployed in [South] Korea were scrapped at the summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and President Moon Jae-in, which took place in Washington, D.C., in May.
 
The guidelines, which dated back to 1979, kept Korean missiles under 800 kilometers (500 miles) in range and did not allow solid fuel for propulsion before last July.
 
Korea originally agreed to a 180-kilometer maximum range of missiles with a payload up to 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) demanded by Washington in October 1979 in return for missile technology transfers from the United States, reflecting Washington’s fear that the authoritarian South Korean government could destabilize the region by sparking an arms race.
 
The guidelines have been revised four times since –– in 2001, 2012, 2017 and most recently July 2020 — to meet a growing security threat from North Korea, which has progressively developed longer range missiles of its own.
 
The KCNA editorial suggested that more missile development was in the cards now that the restrictions on South Korean missiles have been lifted.


“By this action, the United States has poked its eye with its own hand,” the editorial said. “Now that the United States and South Korean authorities have shown that they are pursuing ambitions of invasion, they have nothing to say if we strengthen our own defensive capabilities.”
 
President Moon Jae-in, whose foreign policy and defense agenda long-included “missile independence” from U.S.-imposed restrictions, was also directly named for criticism in the editorial.
 
“The leader of South Korea has stuck his head directly into the crosshairs of surrounding countries,” the editorial said. “The contemptible sight of Moon sending feelers out of a guilty conscience to gage reactions to his mistakes is nauseating.”
 
BY MICHAEL LEE   [lee.junhyuk@joongang.co.kr]
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