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N. Korea Vows to Press ahead with Nuclear Program despite New UN Sanctions - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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North Korea condemned on Sunday the latest United Nations sanctions against it, saying that they were aimed at hindering its efforts to strengthen its nuclear power.

The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution imposing new targeted sanctions on a handful of North Korean officials and entities, in response to a series of ballistic missile tests this year that are banned under UN resolutions.

The resolution put North Korea’s suspected spy chief, 13 other Pyongyang officials and four entities on a sanctions blacklist, hitting them with a global travel ban and an assets freeze.

North Korea slammed the “mean” sanctions and instead vowed to press ahead with its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

The Foreign Ministry added that Pyongyang “outrightly rejects the sanctions racket put forth by the United States and the UN Security Council to prevent the strengthening of our nuclear deterrence.”

“(Washington) talked about the possibility of dialogue but it is nonsense to mention dialogue while laying out unfair preconditions and applying maximum pressure,” a ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The statement said the latest resolution was said to have been put together by the US and China in the “back room”.

It was Washington’s “ultimate double standard” to ban other countries from nuclear or missile tests amid its own attempts to modernize the US arsenal.

The US military said last Tuesday that it “successfully intercepted an intercontinental ballistic missile target” in a test conducted amid concerns over the North’s weapons program.

Concern over the North’s weapons program intensified after North Korea test-fired yet another ballistic missile last week, the latest in a series of launches in its quest to develop weapons capable of hitting the United States.

It was the third missile test by the nuclear-armed regime in less than three weeks.

The North says it needs nuclear weapons to forestall the threat of US attack.

It was “a fatal miscalculation” for the countries behind the sanctions resolution to think they could delay the North’s nuclear forces, the statement said.

“They would squarely see that their mean and indiscreet act would go in just opposite direction to what they want for.”

North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are threatening to Russia, a Russian official said Sunday.

“It is not only (a) ballistic missile defense system — it has real function,” said Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin. “That is why it is alarming. And it is direct threat to Russia. We are convinced that it will increase the tensions of the region. That is our principle position.”

Fomin spoke at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an international security conference in Singapore attended by defense ministers and experts from 39 countries, including US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Russia borders North Korea and saw one of Pyongyang’s missiles land close to its waters. But it differs from the US and its allies on how to rein in the North’s rapidly escalating nuclear and ballistic missile program.

Backing fresh sanctions on North Korea, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Vladimir Safronkov stressed in June that “the choice here has to be made in favor of using diplomatic tools to the maximum extent possible.”

Fomin had similar sentiments. “Economical restrictions should be a kind of tool to invoke North Korea to a peaceful process of resolving the dispute and conflict, and not to once again deteriorate the economic solution in North Korea,” he said.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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