North Korea accuses U.N. Security Council of double standards

UNITED NATIONS Fri Aug 1, 2014 3:38pm EDT

Ri Tong-il (C), spokesman for North Korean Foreign Minister Park Ui-chun speaks with mediaduring the sidelines of the 17th ASEAN Regional Forum in Hanoi July 23, 2010. REUTERS/Na Son-Nguyen/Pool

Ri Tong-il (C), spokesman for North Korean Foreign Minister Park Ui-chun speaks with mediaduring the sidelines of the 17th ASEAN Regional Forum in Hanoi July 23, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Na Son-Nguyen/Pool

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - North Korea accused the United Nations Security Council on Friday of double standards by condemning Pyongyang's recent ballistic missiles launches while ignoring "provocative" joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea.

The normally reclusive state held its fourth news conference at the United Nations this year to push for an emergency Security Council meeting on the military exercises, which Pyongyang routinely denounces as preparation for war.

North Korea's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Ri Tong Il said Pyongyang wrote to the 15-member council, of which the United States and South Korea are members, on July 21 to request the body take up the issue. He said the council had not responded.

Ri warned that the military exercises could lead to war and that "the full responsibility of that will lie upon the United States and the U.N. Security Council for illegally defending and supporting the U.S."

U.N. diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there were no plans for a meeting as there was no support for the North Korean request among council members.

The annual military drills have been conducted since 1953 without a major incident. The United States and South Korea emphasize that the exercises are purely defensive and aimed at testing readiness against any possible North Korean aggression.

"The U.S. is misbehaving militarily in order to undermine dialogue (between North Korea and South Korea) ... It is reminding us of the historical lasting symptom of mentally retarded patient," Ri said.

The two Koreas remain technically at war, as their 1950-53 civil conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

North Korea is under an array of United Nations, U.S. and other national sanctions for nuclear and ballistic missile tests since 2006 in defiance of international demands to stop.

(Reporting by Mirjam Donath; Editing by James Dalgleish)