North Korea rejects new sanctions, to pursue nuclear program

Tensions between North Korea and the US have ratcheted up in an escalating exchange of rhetoric since President Trump took office in January.

In a spokesperson's statement released on Sunday, the North's Foreign Ministry said the UNSC sanctions resolution is a hostile act aimed at curbing the buildup of its nuclear forces, disarming it and causing economic suffocation to it.

The U.N. Security Council on Friday expanded targeted sanctions against North Korea after its repeated missile tests, adopting the first such resolution agreed by the United States and the North's only major ally, China, since U.S. President Donald Trump took office. The White House has repeatedly called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

The said spokesman further addressed that their country is not going to stop their nuclear missile development program as the nuclear forces were "chosen to defend the sovereignty of the country and the rights to national existence and will move forward towards the final victory".

It was the seventh resolution the Security Council has adopted to impose sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs since its first nuclear test in 2006.

Adding names to the United Nations blacklist mean a global travel ban and asset freeze, making the listings more symbolic given the isolated nature of official North Korean entities and the sophisticated network of front companies used by Pyongyang to evade current sanctions.

The resolution put North Korea's suspected spy chief, 13 other Pyongyang officials and four entities on a sanctions blacklist, hitting them with a global travel ban and an assets freeze.

Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said it is encouraging that China has condemned recent actions by North Korea, but added that it has the power to do much more.

The statement said the latest resolution was said to have been put together by the USA and China in the "back room".

North Korea's missile tests, the recent spate of terrorist attacks and China's military build-up in the South China Sea are likely to dominate long-awaited talks between Australian and United States defence and foreign ministers this week.

"Beyond diplomatic and financial consequences, the United States remains prepared to counteract North Korean aggression through other means, if necessary", UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said after the unanimous vote.

"It is a fatal miscalculation if the countries, which have had a hand in the frame-up of the 'sanctions resolution, ' would even think that they can delay or hold in check the eye-opening development of the DPRK's nuclear forces even for a moment", the statement said.

"There's a sense that USA engagement in Asia under the Trump administration is very military heavy and that following the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and with a proposed budget cut to the State Department of 30 per cent, there are questions both in Canberra and the region about the nature of U.S. engagement in Asia", he said.

North Korea's nuclear ambitions are threatening to Russia, a Russian official said Sunday. The recent report allegedly suggests that in the coming weeks, Kim Jong-un may try to test his ballistic missiles.

  • Zachary Reyes