January 24, 2013 09:15
North Korea on Wednesday vowed to boost its nuclear arsenal, evidently irked by the UN Security Council's unanimous adoption of more sanctions against the renegade country.
"We will take measures to boost and strengthen our defensive military power including nuclear deterrence," the North Korean Foreign Ministry said according to the official KCNA news agency.
The comments came just hours after the UN Security Council unanimously condemned the North's rocket launch in December and expanded existing sanctions.
The North also said there will be no more denuclearization talks. "Due to the U.S.'s worsening hostility toward North Korea, the six-party talks and the joint September 19 statement were rendered null."
"There can be talks for peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region in the future, but no talks for the denuclearization of the peninsula," it added.
The UN sanctions came 42 days after North Korea launched a long-range rocket and mark the first punitive steps against Pyongyang since its leader Kim Jong-un took power.
The 15-member council unanimously tightened existing sanctions, adding four individuals and six companies to a sanctions list. The companies include North Korea's space agency and Bank of East Land. As a result, a total of 17 North Korean companies and nine individuals are now subject to UN sanctions.
The resolution includes a "catch-all" clause that encompasses a wider range of prohibited exports than in the previous sanctions. Now any product that could be put to military use can be prohibited from being traded with the North, even if it is not on the existing list of banned items under resolutions 1718 and 1874. Any country that sells products to North Korea that could be put to military use will face sanctions.
Meanwhile, North Korea is believed to be close to finishing preparations for another nuclear test. "We believe North Korea will be ready to conduct a nuclear test if it simply seals off the entrance to a shaft at a test facility" in Pungye-ri, North Hamgyong Province, said one government source here. "We believe it will take only a few days to seal off the entrance."
South Korea is closely monitoring the site to see if another nuclear test is really imminent.
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