United Nations: The UN Security Council has imposed new sanctions on North Korea for its rocket launch and warned of "significant action" in the event of a fresh nuclear test, but Pyongyang remained defiant.
The resolution, adopted yesterday, said the Council "deplores the violations" by North Korea of its previous resolutions, which had banned Pyongyang from conducting ballistic missile and nuclear tests and from importing materials and technology for its nuclear programmes.
It condemned the launch and imposes "important" new sanctions on North Korea, companies and government agencies, including North Korea`s space agency, which was responsible for the launch, a bank, and North Korean individuals.
The resolution also updates current lists of nuclear and ballistic missile technology banned for transfer to and from North Korea. It said the Council "expresses its determination to take significant action in the event of a further DPRK (North Korean) launch or nuclear test".
The Council also called on member states to exercise "enhanced vigilance" in preventing the transfer of funds related to the country`s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programmes.
However, hours after the sanctions were ordered, a defiant Pyongyang said it would carry out a nuclear test and ruled out any talks on denuclearising the Korean peninsula.
"We will take physical actions aimed at expanding and strengthening our self-defensive military forces, including nuclear deterrence," the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
"There will be no dialogue to discuss denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula," the North Korean statement said.
The resolution has also directed the UN sanctions
committee dealing with North Korea to issue notices when vessel operators refuse to undergo inspection for cargo being imported into the country for those activities, and specified how states may dispose of embargoed items when they are confiscated.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the adoption of the resolution, saying the Council has reiterated "with one voice" its firm stance that North Korea`s pursuit of nuclear weapons, including means of delivery, is unacceptable.
The Secretary-General "urges the DPRK to fully abide by all relevant resolutions. In particular, he calls upon the DPRK to refrain from taking any measures that can exacerbate tensions on the peninsula, including any further launches that use ballistic missile technology or a nuclear test," a statement issued by Ban`s spokesperson said.
Ban remains firmly convinced that dialogue is the only way to achieve the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula as well as durable peace in the region, it added.
Ban also renewed his call on the North Korean authorities to work towards building confidence with neighbouring countries and improving the life of its people.
US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said the resolution includes several new provisions targeting North Korea`s illicit procurement efforts, in particular its smuggling of sensitive items that could contribute to prohibited programmes, and it has new financial provisions that would help to increase vigilance and monitoring over North Korean financial activities.
"This resolution demonstrates to North Korea that there are unanimous and significant consequences for its flagrant violation of its obligations under previous resolutions.
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 (Weapons of Mass Destruction) programme and reduce the threat of proliferation by targeting entities and individuals directly involved in these programmes," she told reporters here following the adoption of the resolution.
The UNSC`s "firm, united and appropriate response" sends a clear signal to North Korea that if it chooses to defy the international community by conducting another launch or a nuclear test, the Council will take "significant action", she added.
In the December 12 missile launch, a long-range Unha-3 rocket was reportedly launched from a site on North Korea`s west coast.
In a condemnation issued immediately after the missile launch, Ban had said the test was all the more regrettable because it defied a unified and strong call from the international community, beside being a clear violation of UNSC resolution, in which the Council demanded that Pyongyang not conduct any launch using ballistic missile technology.
Through the new resolution, the Council deplored violations of the sanctions, which were first imposed in 2006 and directed the sanctions committee to take appropriate action on reported evasions.