North Korea says, UN sanctions would make it stronger

Seoul: North Korea has said on Saturday that UN sanctions would only make its nuclear and missile programmes stronger, with the foreign ministry hinting at further nuclear tests to come.

In a statement carried by state media, the ministry said the latest sanctions, which it “vehemently denounces and totally rejects”, had reinforced Pyongyang’s status “as a nuclear weapons state and satellite launcher”.

The foreign ministry statement said that the latest UN sanctions, instead of weakening North Korea’s nuclear deterrent, would increase its capability “a thousand times”, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Pointing to a series of sanctions “cooked up” by the UN over the past eight years, the ministry said they had only resulted in North Korea “bolstering its nuclear deterrent qualitatively and quantitatively”. But there were no signs that such actions were imminent, analysts say.

China, which backed the UN resolution, urged “relevant parties to exercise calm and restraint, and avoid actions that might further escalate tensions”, describing the situation as “highly complex and sensitive”.

Yoo Ho-Yeol, a political science professor at Korea University in Seoul, said the wording of the latest North Korea statement was relatively moderate, especially compared with the one issued by the same ministry on Thursday.

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