|North Korea warned of “tougher countermeasures for self-defense” after the UN Security Council unanimously imposed its strongest-ever sanctions on Pyongyang.
The country’s foreign ministry issued a statement on Thursday calling the UNSC’s move “another excess of authority and violation of the DPRK’s sovereignty”, referring to its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “Many countries – including all the permanent member states of the UNSC – have so far conducted thousands of nuclear tests and rocket launches, but the UNSC has never prevented them from doing so,” said the ministry’s statement carried on state-run Korean Central News Agency.
“[US President Barack] Obama and his lackeys are sadly mistaken if they calculate that they can force the DPRK to abandon its line of nuclear weaponization and undermine its status as a nuclear power through base sanctions to pressurize it,” it said.
North Korea insists its nuclear weapons are a deterrent to US “aggression” and has brushed aside earlier sanctions, which have notably targeted its weapons exports and access to financial markets.
The resolution demands that North Korea “abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes” and takes aim at the state’s exports of coal – its top external revenue source.
Under the resolution, North Korea will be restricted from exporting beyond 7.5 million tonnes of coal in 2017, a reduction of 62 percent from 2015.
Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, said the resolution would strip the regime of more than $700m in hard currency, dramatically reducing the money it can spend on nuclear and ballistic weapons.