UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - If U.S. plans to deploy a missile shield to protect Europe against a possible attack by Iran are realized, it will spark a new nuclear arms race, North Korea's U.N. ambassador said Wednesday.
The U.S. plan, which is being developed in consultation with NATO, calls for the gradual deployment of interceptor missiles, based on land and sea, by 2020.
"The MDS (missile defense system) being pushed under the pretext of responding to so-called ballistic missile developments by what they call 'rogue states' is far from carrying logic," North Korea's U.N. Ambassador Sin Son-ho told a U.N. General Assembly meeting on disarmament.
Sin said that the real purpose of the missile shield is "none other than the gaining of absolute superiority and global hegemony over the other nuclear power rivals."
"This dangerous move will eventually spark a new nuclear arms race," he said.
Sin's remarks come as North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan arrived in New York, where he is expected to meet Washington's envoy for Korean peninsula affairs, Stephen Bosworth.
North Korea withdrew from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the global anti-nuclear weapons pact, in 2003 and tested nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009. This prompted the U.N. Security Council to impose two rounds of sanctions on Pyongyang to pressure it to end its missile and nuclear programs.
Last month the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security bloc that includes Russia, China and four former Soviet Central Asian states, signed a declaration condemning any unilateral build-up of missile defenses.
The previous U.S. administration had planned to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, but the government of President Barack Obama scrapped that idea. The Obama administration's current missile-shield plan is a scaled-back version of the previous one.
(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; editing by Mohammad Zargham)