Seoul, Sept 13 (AFP): North Korea on Wednesday vowed to accelerate its weapons programme in response to the ‘evil’ sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council after its latest and most powerful test. “The adoption of another illegal and evil ‘resolution on sanctions’ piloted by the U.S. served as an occasion for the DPRK to verify that the road it chose to go down was absolutely right,” the North’s foreign ministry said in a statement published by the official KCNA news agency.
“The DPRK will redouble the efforts to increase its strength to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and right to existence,” the ministry said, using the abbreviation for North Korea’s formal name. The fresh sanctions include a ban on the North’s textile exports and restrict shipments of oil products to punish Pyongyang for its sixth nuclear test.
The US-drafted resolution was passed unanimously on Monday, just one month after the Security Council decided to ban exports of coal, lead and seafood in response to Pyongyang’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that appeared to bring much of the US mainland into range. That launch was followed by a nuclear test on September 3, its largest to date, which Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit onto a missile.
The ministry lambasted the latest resolution, calling it a “heinous provocation aimed at depriving the DPRK of its legitimate right for self-defence and completely suffocating its state and people through full-scale economic blockade”. The United States and its allies argue that tougher sanctions will pile pressure on the regime of Kim Jong-Un to negotiate an end to its weapons programme but experts are sceptical about whether they will curb Pyongyang’s nuclear drive.
It was the eighth series of sanctions imposed on North Korea since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006, with previous resolutions having done little to halt Pyongyang’s weapons ambitions.