January 23, 2013 in Nation/World

Security Council rips N. Korea rocket

Associated Press
Associated Press photo

British Ambassador Mark Grant, left, and U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice vote Tuesday on a resolution condemning N. Korea’s rocket launch in December.
(Full-size photo)

UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution condemning North Korea’s rocket launch in December and imposing new sanctions on Pyongyang’s space agency.

The multistage rocket launch is considered part of a covert program to develop ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads.

The council reiterated its previous demand that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program in a “complete, verifiable and irreversible manner” and cease launches.

China joined in approving the resolution, the first resolution in four years to expand the sanctions regime on North Korea.

China is seen as North Korea’s closest ally, and its protection of North Korea meant that the Security Council previously denounced North Korea’s launches with nonbinding council statements, which are unenforceable.

In a defiant statement early today, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry warned that it will strengthen its military and nuclear defenses in reaction to what it called evidence of “U.S. hostility” toward Pyongyang. It also warned that it would rebuff any attempt to engage Pyongyang in disarmament negotiations.

North Korea ominously warned that it would take steps to “bolster the military capabilities for self-defense, including the nuclear deterrence.”

North Korea sent a satellite into space on Dec. 12 aboard a long-range rocket, a launch that the U.S. and its allies have criticized as a test of banned ballistic missile technology.

Security Council resolutions ban North Korea from any use of ballistic missile technology, even if characterized as a satellite launch or space launch vehicle.

The resolution imposes new sanctions under existing authorities on North Korean companies and government agencies, including North Korea’s space agency and several individuals.

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