NK vows 'thousands-fold' revenge

AP
North Korea vows to bolster its nuclear arsenal and launch “thousands-fold” revenge against the US in response to tough UN sanctions imposed after its recent ICBM launches.
AP

North Korea yesterday vowed to bolster its nuclear arsenal and launch “thousands-fold” revenge against the United States in response to tough UN sanctions imposed after its recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches.

The warning came two days after the UN Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions to punish North Korea, including a ban on coal and other exports worth over US$1 billion. US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called the US-drafted resolution “the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against” North Korea.

In a statement carried by state media, North Korea’s government said the sanctions were a “violent infringement of its sovereignty” that was caused by a “heinous US plot to isolate and stifle” North Korea.

It said the UN sanctions will never force the country to negotiate over its nuclear program or to give up its push to strengthen its nuclear capability as long as US hostility and nuclear threats persist. It said it will take an “action of justice,” but didn’t elaborate.

“It’s a wild idea to think the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will be shaken and change its position due to this kind of new sanctions formulated by hostile forces,” said the statement, carried by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency. 

North Korea test-launched two ICBMs last month as part of its efforts to possess a long-range missile capable of striking anywhere in the US mainland. Both missiles were fired at highly lofted angles and analysts say the weapons could reach parts of the US including Alaska, Los Angeles and Chicago if fired at a normal, flattened trajectory.

The centerpiece of the UN sanctions is a ban on North Korean exports of coal, iron, lead and seafood products — and a ban on all countries importing those products, estimated to be worth over US$1 billion a year in hard currency. 

The resolution also bans countries from giving any additional permits to North Korean laborers, another source of foreign currency, and prohibits all new joint ventures with North Korean companies.

According to a Security Council diplomat, coal has been North Korea’s largest export, earning US$1.2 billion last year. It was then restricted by the Security Council in November to a maximum of US$400 million. 

This year, Pyongyang is estimated to have earned US$251 million from iron and iron ore exports, US$113 million from lead and lead ore exports, and US$295 million from fish and seafood exports, said the diplomat, who requested anonymity. 

Analysts say that North Korea, already under numerous UN and other international sanctions, will feel some pain from the new UN sanctions but won’t likely return to disarmament negotiations anytime soon because of them.


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