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N Korea rejects UN sanctions, briefs envoys in Pyongyang

North Korea says a sweeping new round of UN sanctions aimed at choking its nuclear programme by cutting off as much as a quarter of its foreign trade revenue is an “abuse of power” and will be met with tough countermeasures.

Vice Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol on Friday called a gathering of foreign diplomats in the capital to lay out his country’s opposition to the sanctions, which are the harshest to date and have the support of China, North Korea’s primary trading partner. 

“We categorically reject the UN Security Council resolution on sanctions against our country,” Han said.

“The adoption of the resolution is another open denial of our country’s right to self-defence, which goes beyond the mandate of the UN Security Council this is an abuse of power and an infringement upon the sovereignty of our country,” he added.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, in a statement issued soon after the sanctions in response to the North’s nuclear test in September were announced, warned of tough counter-measures, but did not say what they might be. “Sanctions will inevitably escalate tensions,” the ministry said. Han said North Korea was being unfairly singled out by its political adversaries.

“If a nuclear test is such a serious issue, why has the UN Security Council never imposed sanctions on the major powers that have carried out so many nuclear tests? And how can anyone understand these sanctions,” he said.

The Security Council voted on the sanctions on Wednesday after months of diplomatic wrangling over how to respond to the September test, the North’s fifth and biggest.

The new sanctions aim to slash about one-quarter of the North’s total export income.

They target its hard currency revenues by placing a cap on coal exports, cutting them by at least 62 per cent or by an estimated USD 800 million.

The measures ban North Korea’s exports of non-ferrous metals, sanction 11 government officials and 10 entities linked to the nuke programme and crack down on Pyongyang’s access to the international banking system. 
Agencies

Agencies

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