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North Korea nuclear crisis

North Korea vows to continue nuclear tests despite condemnation from UN Security Council

Diplomats put up a unified front in the face of Pyongyang’s flouting of the UN’s efforts to halt international trade with the hermit state

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 September, 2017, 4:56am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 September, 2017, 9:43am

North Korea is seeking an “equilibrium” of military force with the United States, state media reported on Saturday, after Pyongyang sparked global condemnation with its sixth nuclear test then fired a second missile over Japan in less than a month.

North Korea’s statement followed an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council where the country was condemned once more for its behaviour.

However, Kim Jong-un said the country was close to the goal of completing their nuclear force and should use all state power to finish as they have “nearly reached the terminal”, the official KCNA news agency reported.

“Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK,” Kim Jong-un said, according to the KCNA report.

“We should clearly show the big power chauvinists how our state attain the goal of completing its nuclear force despite their limitless sanctions and blockade.”

Watch: North Korea fires another missile over Japan

Earlier, the Security Council condemned North Korea’s most recent missile launch, putting up a unified front in the face of Pyongyang’s defiance of the body’s efforts to halt international trade with the country.

“The Council condemns the highly provocative launch of a ballistic missile by the DPRK,” Security Council President Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta said after an emergency Security Council meeting called hours after the latest North Korean missile launch, reading from a joint statement.

While supporting the official condemnation, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia expressed frustration over the failure of the Security Council’s actions in stopping North Korea’s nuclear provocations and rebuked US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for suggesting that Russia and China aren’t doing enough to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

Getting to grips with North Korea in 15 graphics

Less than four days after the Security Council passed a resolution that seeks to cut off North Korea’s sources of hard currency, the country’s military fired a missile on Friday that flew over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island and into the Pacific Ocean.

It was the second time in about two weeks that North Korea fired a missile over one of Japan’s populated islands, a move that prompted US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to demand that China and Russia take “direct actions” against Pyongyang.

“China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own,” Tillerson said in a statement issued soon after the missile firing.

Russia and China “earnestly implement the resolutions that we adopt in the Security Council, but this resolution also provides for political measures that should be implemented equally and in that sense we called on our US partners and others to implement political and diplomatic solutions that are provided for in the resolution and without implementing this we also consider this to be non-compliant with the resolution”, Nebenzia told reporters who asked about Tillerson’s comments.

US should ‘do its duty’ to resolve North Korea nuclear crisis, not blame China

Security Council Resolution 2325, which passed unanimously earlier this week, targets US$1.3 billion of export income by banning UN member countries from buying textiles from North Korea and banning contracts for labourers from the country working overseas.

The new sanctions also cap North Korea’s imports of petrol, diesel, heavy fuel oil and other refined fuel products at two million barrels annually, which would cut the amount from about 8.5 million barrels now.

“We’re really in a vicious circle. We have a provocation and then a resolution and then another provocation,” Nebenzia said.

The Russian ambassador called on the US to abide by a joint China-Russia proposal that the US dismantle its Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile system in South Korea and agree to dialogue with North Korea to get Pyongyang to stop its provocations.

China has consistently opposed the deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea, saying it would do little to deter the missile threat from North Korea while allowing the US military to use its radar to look deep into China’s territory and at its missile systems.

The US and South Korea have resisted such calls, arguing that THAAD is a defensive system only.

The last resolution against North Korea, passed unanimously by the Security Council on August 5, prohibited UN member states from buying coal, iron ore and other key commodities from North Korea, a move meant to cut the country’s export revenue by US$1 billion annually, according to Council members.