North rejects denuclearization
The UN’s 15-nation Security Council unanimously passed a 20-point new resolution, No. 2087, on Tuesday that condemned the rocket launch and ordered new sanctions by adding more North Korean entities and people to its blacklist.
“We flatly reject and condemn the UN Security Council’s extremely unfair action that attempts to violate our sovereign rights and destroy our right to develop a peaceful satellite launch program,” the statement said. “We will take measures to expand our self-reliant military forces, including nuclear deterrence, in response to the U.S. pressure.”
Pyongyang claimed the rocket launch was to put a satellite into orbit.
“The increasingly hostile policy of the United States .?.?. led the [possibility of] six-party talks and the [spirit of] the September 9 joint declaration to be extinguished,” the statement read. “From now on, there could be a dialogue for guaranteeing peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, but there would be no dialogue for discussing denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.”
The South’s Unification Ministry said the North shouldn’t make such threats.
Cho Tae-young, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said in an official statement that the government “welcomes” the Security Council resolution.
“We feel this resolution expanded and strengthened the measures of the previous resolutions 1718 and 1874,” Cho said. “North Korea should abandon its nuclear weapons programs and halt all of its activities regarding ballistic missiles to abide by the resolutions of the UNSC.”
Tension was running high over the possibility of an imminent nuclear test.
“They appeared to complete all preparations for a nuclear test, possibly at one of two mines at the test site in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province,” a military official told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday on the condition of anonymity. “It would just take a couple of days before pushing the button.”
The official said the two mines were ravaged by flooding last year but are almost restored now.
The military reportedly witnessed the North preparing the mines for an underground nuclear weapons test.
President-elect Park Geun-hye hasn’t issued any comment on North Korea’s statement. Park has repeatedly said she won’t tolerate any provocations from Pyongyang.
Glyn Davies, Washington’s special representative for North Korea policy, visited Seoul yesterday in order to meet with South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy Lim Sung-nam. His visit at a sensitive time fueled speculation that Seoul and Washington are pondering their own sanctions against Pyongyang on top of the Security Council’s.
The new resolution came 42 days after Pyongyang launched its third long-range ballistic rocket.
The main points of the resolutions are: controlling North Korea’s trading of material used to produce nuclear weapons and missiles; monitoring any movements of large amounts of cash; strengthening surveillance on financial entities in North Korea; adding six North Korean entities and four individuals to existing travel bans and asset freezes; intensifying monitoring of suspicious vessels in international waters; and warning Pyongyang against further provocations.
The Korean Committee for Space Technology, the regime’s state space agency in charge of all rocket launches, topped the list of sanctioned bodies.
The other five entities on the list are four trading companies and a bank: Korea Kumryong Trading Corporation, Tosong Technology Trading Corporation, Korea Ryonha Machinery Joint Venture Corporation, Leader International (based in Hong Kong) and the Bank of East Land.
The entities are all suspected of being involved in North Korea’s weapons trading businesses.
Two of them, Korea Kumryong Trading Corporation and Tosong Technology Trading Corporation, were already listed in April 2009. Bank of East Land is suspected of assisting a North Korean company with money laundering for the weapons business.
The four individuals on the list are: Paek Chang-ho, head of the satellite control center of the state space agency; Jang Myong-jin, head manager of the Sohae satellite launch site, where the Unha-3 rocket blasted off; Ra Kyong-su and Kim Kwang-il, officials at Tanchon Commercial Bank.
Paek and Jang guided foreign journalists visiting the regime’s space center before a failed rocket launch last April.
The Tanchon Commercial Bank was sanctioned by the Security Council in 2009, suspected of smuggling out North Korean weapons.
It’s the fifth resolution against Pyongyang by the Security Council so far, following sanctions in 2006 and 2009 when the regime carried out its first and second nuclear test. Resolution No. 1874 from 2009 clearly prohibits North Korea from using any kind of ballistic missile technologies.
By Kim Hee-jin [firstname.lastname@example.org]