North Korea said Wednesday that it would bolster its nuclear capabilities after the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution to instate more sanctions on the reclusive communist regime.
Pyongyang, via state-run media, said that it would “take steps … to bolster the military capabilities for self defense, including the nuclear deterrence, both qualitatively and quantitatively.” It did not elaborate exactly what it meant by “nuclear deterrence.”
These steps, it added, would be aimed at countering “undisguised moves” by the United States to place more sanctions on the country. North Korea also rejected the resolution that was handed down by the Security Council Tuesday, which includes Pyongyang’s main ally China, accusing the U.N. body of violating its sovereignty.
But if the North again tries to contravene the Security Council’s measures by launching another rocket or carrying out another nuclear test, there would be repercussions, said U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice after Tuesday’s vote.
“More importantly, the provisions of this resolution—both new sanctions and the tightening and expanding of existing measures—concretely help to impede the growth of North Korea’s WMD program and reduce the threat of proliferation by targeting entities and individuals directly involved in these programs,” she said, according to a transcript.
The resolution was passed just a month after North Korea successfully launched a satellite into orbit, but analysts and Western governments believe it was merely a disguised long-range missile test. In past rocket launches, Pyongyang often soon followed up with a nuclear test.
“Today’s resolution also makes clear that if North Korea chooses again to defy the international community, such as by conducting another launch or a nuclear test, then the Council will take significant action,” Rice said.
The U.S. and South Korea are looking into additional sanctions against North Korea, separate from what the Security Council outlined.
“We have been in discussions with the U.S. side about additional bilateral sanctions against the North following the U.N. resolution,” an unnamed senior South Korean diplomat told the South Korean Yonhap News Agency.
Possible sanctions include increasing the difficulty for North Korean ships to travel in waters around the Korean Peninsula as well as inspections of North Korean ships believed to be involved in weapon smuggling, according to the news agency.
Seoul has also been “in negotiations with other relevant countries about additional bilateral sanctions against North Korea,” the diplomat added.
North Korea has been under U.N. Security Council sanctions since 2006 after it carried out its first nuclear test. Sanctions were increased in 2009 after another nuclear test.
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