SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) denounced today (21 Feb) North Korea’s recent missile tests, calling it a “dangerous provocation” and a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
The latest series of missile tests conducted by North Korea at Pyongyang International Airport over the past few days included using an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Asserting that this would escalate tensions and threaten regional stability, the MFA said in a statement: “Like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s previous missile tests, this is a dangerous provocation which will exacerbate tensions on the Korean peninsula and jeopardise stability in the region. It is also a blatant violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions.”
MFA also restated Singapore’s appeal for North Korea to “cease all provocations immediately and abide by its international obligations and commitments”.
Among nations like the US, South Korea, Japan, the G7 group of nations and the European Union, Singapore condemned the ICBM launch.
North Korea’s latest missile tests come ahead of the annual joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea.
The state news agency KCNA reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally approved the test even though the first drill “was suddenly organised without previous notice.” It added that the tests demonstrated the reliability of North Korea’s “powerful physical nuclear deterrent”.
South Korea’s National Security Council has gathered with Washington and Japan to discuss increasing security cooperation following the latest missile tests.
Thousands at risk of radiation: Study
Seoul-based human rights group reported today that tens of thousands of North Koreans and people in South Korea, Japan and China could be exposed to radioactive materials spread through groundwater from an underground nuclear test site.
Pointing to secret missile tests that have taken place from as far back as 2006, the Transitional Justice Working Group said that radioactive materials from the site of North Korea’s nuclear tests could have dispersed to eight nearby cities and counties, with over 1 million North Koreans residing in the area.
The local population relies on groundwater for everyday purposes, including drinking, thereby increasing the risk of exposure. The report further warned that agricultural and fisheries products smuggled from North Korea could also pose a risk to South Korea, China, and Japan.
The group, established in 2014, collaborated with nuclear and medical experts and defectors and relied on publicly available government and U.N. reports and open-source intelligence. The study was supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, a non-profit corporation financed by the U.S. Congress.
The group’s chief and co-author, Hubert Young-hwan Lee, said: “This report is significant in showing that North Korea’s nuclear tests could threaten the right to life and health of not only the North Korean people, but also of those in South Korea and other neighbouring countries.”
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