North Korea Defends Nuclear Test Citing ‘Tragedy’ Of Countries That Abandoned Weapons Programs

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Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un reportedly distributed copies of "Mein Kampf," Adolf Hitler's prison manifesto, as gifts to top North Korean officials.

North Korea defended its most recent nuclear test Thursday by saying countries which gave in to U.S. pressure to abandon their nuclear plans had suffered “tragic consequences.”

North Korea carried out its third nuclear test Feb. 12. It claimed to have successfully detonated a smaller but more advanced device than those used in the previous tests conducted in 2006 and 2009.

“The tragic consequences in those countries, which abandoned halfway their nuclear programs, yielding to the high-handed practices and pressure of the U.S. in recent years, clearly prove that the DPRK (North Korea) was very far-sighted and just when it made the option,” a commentary published by state-run KCNA news agency stated, adding: “They also teach the truth that the U.S. nuclear blackmail should be countered with substantial countermeasures, not with compromise or retreat.”

Though the commentary did not name any countries, it is believed to be a reference to certain Middle Eastern leaders, who despite abandoning their weapons programs were met with humiliating defeats following foreign interventions.

Libya abandoned its nuclear program in 2003 in an effort to mend ties with Washington. However, then–Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi suffered an ignominious defeat in an uprising that began in early 2011, culminating in his death in October the same year. The uprising saw the U.N. Security Council authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya and NATO assuming command of air strikes to protect civilians with military assistance from Washington.

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was also forced to agree to the elimination of all his weapons of mass destruction, but despite U.N. weapons inspectors’ reports of his accelerated cooperation, U.S. and U.K. forces invaded Iraq in March 2003 that brought his reign to a violent end.

On Wednesday, Pyongyang released a propaganda video that showed President Barack Obama and the U.S. troops in flames and credited Washington for inspiring the Asian country to become a nuclear power.

In December, North Korea successfully used a three-stage rocket to launch a satellite into orbit, following which the U.N. tightened the already existing sanctions on Pyongyang.

The nuclear test in February was unanimously condemned by the UNSC with a statement that was approved by all 15 member nations, including China, Pyongyang’s key ally.

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