N.Korea rejects latest UN sanctions as provocation

Seoul, Sep 13: North Korea on Wednesday criticised the latest set of sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council over its nuclear weapons programme, calling them a heinous provocation and a full-scale economic blockade.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry said that the new sanctions were "a product of heinous provocation aimed at depriving the country of its legitimate right for self-defense and completely suffocating its state and people through full-scale economic blockade", Efe news reported.

The statement published by state news agency KCNA "categorically" rejected the sanctions, and pointed out that they would "strengthen (North Korea's) resolve" to aggressively pursue its nuclear weapons program "at a faster pace without the slightest diversion until this fight to the finish is over".

The statement also said it would "redouble efforts to increase its strength to safeguard the country's sovereignty and right to existence".

The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously approved a new round of sanctions aimed at stifling North Korea's economy, which includes limitations on Pyongyang's petroleum and by-product imports as well as a ban on its textile exports.

The sanctions are less drastic than what was initially intended by the US, who also called for a ban on UN member countries selling gas, oil and refined petroleum products to North Korea.

Russia and China opposed certain conditions in the draft resolutions, opening a new round of negotiations which concluded with a decision to curtail crude oil sales to the Communist state rather than prohibiting it completely.

Together with previous sets of sanctions, which imposed an embargo on coal, iron, fish and seafood exports, North Korea is expected to lose $2.7 billion or about 90 per cent of its sales abroad, according to estimates by the US.

The UN Security Council approved the resolution after North Korea on September 3 detonated a hydrogen bomb at a nuclear testing facility.

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