The U.N. Security Council on Thursday unanimously approved new sanctions on North Korea to punish it for its Feb. 12 nuclear test, hours after Pyongyang threatened a “pre-emptive” nuclear strike against the United States.
The resolution, designed to send a powerful message to North Korea’s new young leader, Kim Jong Un, targets financial activities on North Korean banks; imposes travel sanctions on blacklisted North Koreans; and bans the transfer to and from North Korea of ballistic missile, nuclear and chemical weapons technology.
“We want to see full implementation of the resolution,” Mr. Li said.
“The top priority now is to defuse the tensions, bring down heat … bring the situation back on the track of diplomacy, on negotiations,” he added, while calling for a resumption of stalled six-nation talks aimed at removing nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula.
Pyongyang will exercise its right to “a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors” because Washington is “set to light a fuse for a nuclear war,” North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency quoted an unidentified spokesman as saying.
New U.N. sanctions will also prompt North Korea to act sooner on a threat, made following the nuclear test, to use “powerful second and third countermeasures,” he added. Pyongyang has not disclosed what those measures are.
The U.S. also provides what it calls a “nuclear umbrella” security guarantee to both South Korea and Japan, neighbors of North Korea which do not have atomic weapons, and missile defense capabilities.
Pyongyang has responded to previous sanctions with belligerent rhetoric, nuclear tests and missile launches. Its Feb. 12 test came in response to U.N. sanctions that punished the regime for launching a long-range ballistic missile in December.
North Korean officials said after the nuclear test that they had used a miniaturized nuclear device. If true, this means North Korea is closer to putting a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile.View Entire Story
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Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
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