North Korea has responded to the toughest, if watered down, United Nations Security Council sanctions ever imposed against the isolated country with its most strident rhetoric yet.
In its first official response to the new resolution, North Korea’s foreign ministry released a statement deriding the sanctions as an act of “heinous provocation,” saying the new economic restrictions only strengthened its desire to build nuclear weapons. We will “follow this road at a faster pace without the slightest diversion until this fight to the finish is over,” Bloomberg reported.
“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 ministry said, according to KCNA. “The DPRK will redouble the efforts to increase its strength to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and right to existence.”
The resolution is “a product of heinous provocation aimed at depriving the DPRK of its legitimate right to self-defense and completely suffocating its state and people through a full-scale economic blockade,” the statement went on.
The country once again asserted its right to self-defense, adding that the country’s nuclear push was ‘absolutely right,’” according to the Financial Times.
The statement of defiance came after Han Tae-song, the country’s ambassador to the UN, proclaimed that Pyongyang was “ready to use a form of ultimate means,” warning again the US that it would face the “greatest pain it ever experienced in history” for leading the UN move. Han’s remarks echoed a similar threat issued by state media early Monday morning local time, while negotiations were presumably still underway.
North Korean state media also lashed out against a recent agreement between Washington and Seoul to end the South’s 500kg limit on missile warheads, a deal likened by the Rodong Sinmun newspaper to “a ridiculous act of a mudfish trying to become a dragon in the sky.”
As reported on Monday, to secure the sanctions’ safe passage, the US was forced to concede several of its initial demands, including a total oil embargo and the freezing of assets tied to North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un and senior members of his government. Russia and China have called on the US to resume talks with North Korea, repeating that a suspension of joint military drills between the US and South Korea could kick-start diplomacy with Pyongyang.
Meanwhile, in another unwelcome development that will only serve to escalate tensions between the North and the US, Seoul and Japan, two of the groups that monitor the North’s weapons program have raised their estimates regarding the strength of the country’s weapons program. Norsar and 38 North, two North Korea research groups, on Tuesday upgraded their estimates of the recent nuclear test’s explosive yield to 200-300 kilotons and 250 kilotons respectively, implying that it was up to 30 times more powerful than the previous test