North Korea vows to step up weapons program in sanctions blowback
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North Korea vows to step up weapons program in sanctions blowback

Pyongyang says UN resolution a 'heinous provocation' after world body passes fresh penalties meant to pressure nuclear regime

This photo taken on September 6, 2017 shows participants of a mass celebration in Pyongyang for scientists involved in carrying out North Korea's largest nuclear blast to date. (AFP/Kim Won-Jin)
This photo taken on September 6, 2017 shows participants of a mass celebration in Pyongyang for scientists involved in carrying out North Korea's largest nuclear blast to date. (AFP/Kim Won-Jin)

SEOULSouth Korea — North Korea on Wednesday vowed to accelerate its weapons program 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 US 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.

United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, center, raises her hand as she votes yes to levy new sanctions on North Korea during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council concerning North Korea at UN headquarters, in New York City, September 11, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)

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 that appeared to bring much of the US mainland into range.

South Korean officials watch news broadcasts showing North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un, at the Korea Meteorological Administration in Seoul on September 3, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jung Yeon-Je)

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-defense 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 program but experts are skeptical 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.

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