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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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World wonders what nuclear North Korea will do next

UN Security Council on North Korea

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PYONGYANG, North Korea - Outraged by a fresh round of sanctions, imposed by the UN Security Council on North Korea, the country has fired back more warnings, all targeted the U.S.

On Sunday, North Korea called the latest UN sanctions ‘act of war’ and the country’s foreign ministry said that the U.S. is terrified of North Korea's growing nuclear strength.

The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea in response to its latest intercontinental ballistic missile test.

The ICBM test was touted by North Korea as a “breakthrough,” but now, the new sanctions are believed to have a significant impact on the isolated country’s struggling economy.

The resolution seeks to ban nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum product exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year.

Demands have also been made for the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within 24 months, instead of 12 months as first proposed.

The U.S.-drafted resolution would also cap crude oil supplies to North Korea at 4 million barrels a year. 

For months now, the U.S. has been calling on China to limit its oil supply to its neighbor and ally.

Japan, which holds the presidency of the Security Council this month, declared that the resolution passed by a vote of 15 to 0.

Firing back at the sanctions, North Korea's foreign ministry said on Sunday that the latest UN sanctions against North Korea are an act of war and tantamount to a complete economic blockade against it.

He threatened to punish those who supported the measure.

In a statement featured in the official KCNA news agency, North Korea's foreign ministry said the United States was terrified by its nuclear force and was getting "more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country."

The statement said, “We define this 'sanctions resolution' rigged up by the U.S. and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our Republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the region and categorically reject the 'resolution.’”

The minister added, “There is no more fatal blunder than the miscalculation that the U.S. and its followers could check by already worn-out 'sanctions' the victorious advance of our people who have brilliantly accomplished the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.”

On November 29, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared the nuclear force complete after the test of North Korea's largest-ever ICBM test.

The country even declared that its ICBM puts all of the United States within range.

Addressing a meeting of members of the ruling Workers' Party on Friday, Kim Jong Un said that the country "successfully realized the historic cause of completing the state nuclear force" despite "short supply in everything and manifold difficulties and ordeals owing to the despicable anti-DPRK moves of the enemies."

Meanwhile, South Korea's foreign ministry said that it is aware of the North Korean statement on the new sanctions.

It highlighted its position that the statement is a "grave warning by the international community that the region has no option but to immediately cease reckless provocations, and take the path of dialogue for denuclearization and peace."

The North Korean foreign ministry meanwhile argued that its nuclear weapons were a self-defensive deterrence not in contradiction of international law.

It said, “We will further consolidate our self-defensive nuclear deterrence aimed at fundamentally eradicating the U.S. nuclear threats, blackmail and hostile moves by establishing the practical balance of force with the U.S.”

North Korea even threatened that those who voted for the sanctions would face its wrath and added,  "Those countries that raised their hands in favour of this 'sanctions resolution' shall be held completely responsible for all the consequences to be caused by the 'resolution' and we will make sure for ever and ever that they pay heavy price for what they have done."

The sanctions even stripped off support for North Korea from its old allies China and Russia, who both supported the latest UN sanctions.

China, with which North Korea does some 90 percent of its trade, has repeatedly called for calm and restraint from all sides.

On Saturday, China said the new resolution reiterated the need for a peaceful resolution via talks and that all sides needed to take steps to reduce tensions.

In an editorial featured in the Chinese state-run tabloid the Global Times, the country’s officials said that the tougher resolution was aimed at preventing war.

It also suggested the United States had wanted an even harsher resolution, and noted there was no indication in the resolution that the United Nations could grant the United States permission for military action.

China said in an editorial, “The difference between the new resolution and the original U.S. proposal reflects the will of China and Russia to prevent war and chaos on the Korean Peninsula. If the U.S. proposals were accepted, only war is foreseeable.”

Tension on the Korean peninsula have been rising over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, that it continues to pursue in defiance of years of UN Security Council resolutions.

 

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