North Korea has responded angrily to criticism of its missile tests for endangering shipping by accusing the International Maritime Organization of being a “plaything” of the United States.

The IMO’s maritime safety committee last week passed a resolution to condemn Pyongyang’s failure to alert shipping about its missile tests as they “seriously threatened the safety of seafarers and international shipping”.

A group of 13 states, including the US, called for an end to the unannounced ballistic missile launches across international shipping lanes in a submission to the IMO in March.

They cited the text of the Solas maritime safety convention, signed by North Korea, which demands prior notification for events such as naval exercises, missile firings, space missions and nuclear tests.

The submission resulted in the rebuke last week at the committee, sparking anger in North Korea. It claimed the measures were routine measures to defend national security.

The talks at the committee came as North Korea on Wednesday failed to put its first military spy satellite into orbit when it crashed off its western coast.

“This excess of authority makes one regard the organisation as an office of the White House rather than an expert body of the UN,” according to an article by Kim Myong Chol, an international affairs analyst, carried by North Korean news agency KCNA.

He further claimed that the body was “being reduced into a plaything of the US” and risked losing the confidence of the international community.

North Korea tested a record number of missiles in 2022 and included ones capable of hitting US territory on the Pacific Island of Guam. The tests have continued this year.

The IMO assembly condemned the launches by North Korea in 2017 because of the dangers they posed to shipping. Member states have continued to criticise the practice.