North Korea vows harsh retaliation against new U.N. sanctions

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea vowed Monday to bolster its nuclear arsenal and gain revenge of a “thousand-fold” against the United States in response to tough U.N. sanctions imposed following its recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

The warning came two days after the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions to punish North Korea, including a ban on coal and other exports worth over $1 billion. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, called the U.S.-drafted resolution “the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against” North Korea.

In a statement carried by the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s government said the sanctions were a “violent infringement of its sovereignty” that was caused by a “heinous U.S. plot to isolate and stifle” North Korea.

“We will make the U.S. pay by a thousand-fold for all the heinous crimes it commits against the state and people of this country,” the statement said.

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The North said it would take an unspecified “resolute action of justice” and would never place its nuclear program on the negotiating table or “flinch an inch” from its push to strengthen its nuclear deterrence as long as U.S. hostility against North Korea persists.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho made similar comments during an annual regional security conference in Manila on Monday.

South Korea’s government said that North Korea would face stronger sanctions if it doesn’t stop its nuclear and missile provocation.

Lim Eul Chul, a North Korea expert at South Korea’s Kyungnam University, said the comments by the North demonstrate how angry it is over the U.N. sanctions, but that the country is not likely to launch a pre-emptive strike against the United States. He said the North could still carry out further missile tests or a sixth atomic bomb test in the coming months under its broader weapons development timetable.

North Korea test-launched two ICBMs last month as part of its efforts to possess a long-range missile capable of striking anywhere in the mainland U.S. Both missiles were fired at highly lofted angles and analysts say the weapons could reach parts of the United States such as Alaska, Los Angeles or Chicago if fired at a normal, flattened trajectory.

The centerpiece of the U.N. sanctions is a ban on North Korean exports…

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