North Korea: G-7 pressure will not stop missile program

Representatives of G-7 nations condemn launches

(CNN) - North Korea fired back Monday at the G-7 nations for condemning its missile program, saying pressure and sanctions will only make North Korea speed up its nuclear missile program.

North Korea's statement said the G-7 nations had carried out most of the nuclear missile tests in history.

"They are urging the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) to scrap its nuclear deterrence meant for self-defense of the country," the statement said. "This is like a guilty party filing the suit first. ... "

North Korea said "the US and its followers are seriously mistaken" if they think North Korea will back down.

"The increased sanctions and pressure will compel the DPRK to further step up its moves for diversifying and modernizing its nuclear force," the statement said.

The diplomatic back-and-forth came after North Korea launched a ballistic missile test on Monday, its third in less than three weeks.

The short-range ballistic missile traveled an estimated 248 miles, splashing down within Japan's exclusive economic zone, an area of sea where commercial ships are known to operate.

Western nations, Japan and South Korea quickly condemned the launch.

Representatives of the G-7 nations -- the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan -- plus the European Union met at the United Nations before the latest missile launch. On Saturday, they issued a joint statement urging North Korea to abandon its nuclear missile program.

"Condemning in the strongest terms North Korea's nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, we stand ready to strengthen measures aimed at achieving these objectives and strongly call on the international community to redouble its efforts to ensure the sustained, comprehensive and thorough implementation of relevant (UN Security Council resolutions)," the statement said.

Current economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations and others have done little to slow North Korea's missile program.

Two US Navy aircraft carriers are expected to begin training together as soon as Wednesday in the Sea of Japan, also known in Korea as the East Sea, for a few days in what US military officials say may be interpreted by North Korea as a signal of a more aggressive US military posture.

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