Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

January 23, 2013

After UN acts, NKorea vows to beef up nukes

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea swiftly lashed out against the U.N. Security Council’s condemnation of its December launch of a long-range rocket, saying Wednesday that it will strengthen its military defenses — including its nuclear weaponry — in response.

The defiant statement from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry was issued hours after the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning Pyongyang’s Dec. 12 rocket launch as a violation of a ban against nuclear and missile activity. The resolution, which won approval from Pyongyang’s ally and protector China after drawn-out discussions, also expanded sanctions against the North.

In Pyongyang, the Foreign Ministry maintained that the launch was a peaceful bid to send a satellite into space, not a test of long-range missile technology. But now, North Korea will “counter the U.S. hostile policy with strength, not with words,” the ministry said, ominously warning that North Korea will “bolster the military capabilities for self-defense including the nuclear deterrence.”

The wording “considerably and strongly hints at the possibility of a nuclear test,” analyst Hong Hyun-ik at the private Sejong Institute think tank near Seoul said Wednesday.

A nuclear test would fit into a familiar pattern of defiance in Pyongyang. In 2006 and 2009, North Korea followed up rocket launches just weeks later by testing atomic devices, which experts say is necessary for development of nuclear warheads.

However, North Korea has a new leader, Kim Jong Un, who took over in December 2011 following the death of father Kim Jong Il. How he will handle the standoff with the international community remains unclear.

There was no indication Wednesday of an imminent nuclear test. However, satellite photos taken last month at North Korea’s underground nuclear test site in Punggye-ri in the far northeast showed continued activity that suggested a state of readiness even in winter, according to analysis by 38 North, a North Korea website affiliated with the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies.

Last month’s rocket launch has been celebrated as a success in North Korea, and the scientists involved treated like heroes. Kim Jong Un cited the launch in his New Year’s Day speech laying out North Korea’s main policies and goals for the upcoming year, and banners hailing the launch are posted on buildings across the capital.

Washington and its allies consider the long-range rocket launch a covert test of ballistic missile technology, and suspect Pyongyang is working toward mounting a nuclear warhead on a missile capable of striking the U.S.

North Korea claims the right to build nuclear weapons as a defense against the United States, which stations more than 28,000 troops in South Korea. The foes fought in the three-year Korean War, which ended in a truce in 1953 and left the Korean Peninsula divided at the 38th parallel.

Six-nation disarmament negotiations, hosted by China and aimed at offering North Korea much-needed food and fuel in return for dismantling its nuclear program, have been stalled since North Korea walked away from the talks following U.N. punishment for its 2009 rocket launch.

Since then, Pyongyang had indicated its readiness to resume discussing disarmament, and in February 2012 negotiated a deal with Washington to place a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests in exchange for food aid.

That deal fell apart when North Korea unsuccessfully launched a long-range rocket in April. In July, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a memorandum declaring that it felt forced to “completely re-examine the nuclear issue due to the continued U.S. hostile policy” toward Pyongyang.

Following Tuesday’s Security Council resolution, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said it would rebuff any attempts to engage Pyongyang in disarmament negotiations.

“There can be talks for peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region in the future, but no talks for the denuclearization of the peninsula,” it said.

The Security Council demanded that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program in a “complete, verifiable and irreversible manner,” and ordered the regime to cease rocket launches.

“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 (Security) Council will take significant action,” U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said.

The binding resolution is the first in four years to expand sanctions against Pyongyang. It ordered the freeze of more North Korean assets, including the space agency, and imposed a travel ban on four more officials — limited sanctions that target individuals and specific companies.

“We believe that action taken by the Council should be prudent, measured, proportionate and conducive to stability,” Chinese Ambassador Li Baodong said after the vote.

The decision by China, North Korea’s biggest ally and economic supporter, to approve the U.N. resolution — including sanctions — may reflect frustration on Beijing’s part toward its neighbor, analysts said. In the past, China has vetoed applying sanctions for past provocations.

“China has limited influence with North Korea,” Zhang Liangui, a researcher with the ruling Communist Party’s main research and training institute, said in Beijing. “Beijing disapproves of any nuclear test or new missile launch, but there’s not a lot it can do.”

China’s support for the resolution, with targeted sanctions, signals that it agrees that North Korea’s launch was a test of its ballistic missile technology, but it is still trying to protect the ally.

“China is striking a balance here. It wants to punish North Korea for the latest launch and tell it not to undertake a new ballistic missile launch. But it doesn’t want to put unbearable pressure on Pyongyang,” said Shen Dingli, a regional security expert and director of the Center for American Studies at Shanghai’s Fudan University.

———

Peter James Spielmann reported from the United Nations. Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul and Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.

———

Follow AP’s Korea bureau chief at www.twitter.com/newsjean.

 

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Valdosta Daily Times e-Edition, or our print edition

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Georgia Gun Bill_Stew.jpg Gun carry rights expanded in Ga. under new law

    Criticized by one group as the “guns everywhere” bill, Georgia took a big step Wednesday toward expanding where licensed carriers can take their weapons, with the governor signing a law that allows them in bars without restriction and in some churches, schools and government buildings under certain circumstances.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clemson Spring Game F_Stew.jpg Clemson’s Swinney won’t change after complaint

    Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday he wouldn’t change procedures after the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s letter of complaint expressing concerns about the football program’s connection to the coach’s Christian religion.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today in History

    In 1800, Congress approved a bill establishing the Library of Congress.

    April 24, 2014

  • Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

    A state’s voters are free to outlaw the use of race as a factor in college admissions, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a blow to affirmative action that also laid bare tensions among the justices about a continuing need for programs that address racial inequality in America.

    April 23, 2014

  • ‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in South Sudan slaughter

    Gunmen who targeted both children and the elderly left “piles and piles” of bodies — many of those in a mosque — in a provincial capital in South Sudan, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in the country said Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Obama_Stew.jpg Obama views mudslide scene

    Swooping over a terrain of great sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month, then mourned privately with those who lost loved ones in the destruction.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wall Street_Stew.jpg Earnings and corporate deals lift U.S. stocks

    Corporate deals and some solid earnings reports propelled the stock market to its sixth straight gain Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Economy College Gradu_Stew.jpg Job market for college grads better but still weak

    With college commencement ceremonies nearing, the government is offering a modest dose of good news for graduating seniors: The job market is brightening for new grads — a bit.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Court TV On t_Stew.jpg Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned

    Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today in History

    In 1791, the 15th president of the United States, James Buchanan, was born in Franklin County, Pa.

    April 23, 2014

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results