New UN sanctions spark North Korea fury
UNITED NATIONS (UPDATED) - The UN Security Council ordered tougher sanctions Tuesday, January 22, against North Korea for a banned rocket launch, triggering a defiant pledge by Pyongyang to bolster its nuclear deterrent.
The Security Council added North Korea's state space agency, a bank, four trading companies and four individuals to the UN sanctions list. The council threatened "significant action" if the North stages a nuclear test.
The resolution, proposed by the United States and passed unanimously by the 15-nation council, "condemned" North Korea for what its "ballistic missile technology" test on December 12.
The United States and China have been involved in senior negotiations on the international response to the launch of the three-stage rocket, which North Korea said served to put a satellite in space.
The US government had sought a tough response to Pyongyang, already facing severe UN measures over its nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. China has sought to shield its ally against sanctions.
US Ambassador Susan Rice said the resolution was a sign that North Korea will have "an increasingly steep price" to pay if it chooses confrontation with the international community.
China's UN envoy Li Baodong called for greater diplomatic efforts to halt North Korea's weapons program.
The Security Council demanded that the North suspend "all activities related to its ballistic missile program" and "abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner."
The council "expresses its determination to take significant action in the event of a further DPRK (North Korea) launch or nuclear test," added the resolution.
The Korean Committee for Space Technology, the government agency that organized the rocket launch, topped the list of new bodies sanctioned.
The list also included Bank of East Land, which the resolution said had been used to transfer funds to "in a manner that circumvents sanctions" and had dealt with banks in Iran that also face UN sanctions.
Korea Kumryong Trading Corporation, Tosong Technology Trading Corporation, Korea Ryonha Machinery Joint Venture Corporation and Leader International (based in Hong Kong) were also added to the list.
All were accused of procuring equipment for North Korea's nuclear and missile development or of exporting and dealing in arms. The resolution deplored the North's use of "bulk cash" to avoid sanctions.
The four individuals put on the list were all involved in North Korea's technology development or bank officials.
"This resolution demonstrates to North Korea that there are unanimous and significant consequences for its flagrant violation" of previous resolutions, Rice told reporters.
She said the United States wanted "credible negotiations" with Pyongyang but warned the resolution "makes clear that there will be an increasingly steep price to pay if North Korea again chooses confrontation with this council and the international community."
North Korea's foreign ministry quickly slammed the council and hinted that a new nuclear test could be planned.
"We flatly reject and condemn the UN Security Council's extremely unfair resolution," said a ministry statement.
"We will take physical actions aimed at expanding and strengthening our self-defensive military forces, including nuclear deterrence."
Last month, a US think-tank used satellite photos to claim the North has repaired extensive rain damage at its nuclear test site in the northeast of the country and could conduct a detonation on two weeks' notice.
China's Li said that despite his country's support for the resolution, the Council had to be "prudent, measured, proportionate, conducive to peace and stability."
He told reporters there had to be new efforts to start "the diplomatic track and avoid the escalation of tension."
China has been trying to revive moribund six-nation talks on the North's nuclear program.
But North Korea's foreign ministry said there would be "no dialogue to discuss denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."
South Korea, a temporary member of the council since January 1, welcomed the resolution, as did UN leader Ban Ki-moon.
Ban calls on the North "to work toward building confidence with neighboring countries and improving the life of its people," said his spokesman Martin Nesirky. - Rappler.com