Pyongyang defiant despite UN sanctions
UNITED NATIONS – Agence France-PresseThe U.N. Security Council ordered expanded sanctions Jan. 22 against North Korea for a banned rocket launch, triggering a defiant pledge by Pyongyang to bolster its nuclear deterrent.
The Security Council added North Korea’s state space agency, a bank, four trading companies and four individuals to the U.N. sanctions list, and threatened “significant action” if the North stages a nuclear test.
The resolution, proposed by the United States, was passed unanimously by the 15-nation council, including North Korea’s only major ally, China.
Pyongyang insists its Dec. 12 rocket launch was a peaceful, scientific mission aimed at putting a satellite in space. The U.N. resolution condemned it as a disguised ballistic missile test that violated existing sanctions imposed after the North’s nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
The U.S. government had sought a tough U.N. response to Pyongyang, as China tried to shield its ally from a new set of sanctions.
“This resolution demonstrates to North Korea that there are unanimous and significant consequences for its flagrant violation” of previous resolutions, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry quickly slammed the council and hinted that a new nuclear test could be planned.
“We flatly reject and condemn the U.N. Security Council’s extremely unfair resolution,” said a ministry statement.
“We will take physical actions aimed at expanding and strengthening our self-defensive military forces, including nuclear deterrence.” Last month, a U.S. think-tank used satellite photos to suggest the North has repaired extensive rain damage at its nuclear test site in the northeast of the country and could conduct a detonation at two weeks’ notice.
Analysts said the expanded sanctions would have a limited impact, but stressed the importance of China’s backing for the resolution.