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Sunday, September 11, 2016, 17:42

DPRK: Sanctions push after nuclear test ‘laughable’

By Reuters
DPRK: Sanctions push after nuclear test ‘laughable’
People watch a television news report, showing file footage of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jong-Un, at a railway station in Seoul on Sept 9, 2016. North Korea claimed on September 9 it had successfully tested a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on a missile. (Jung Yeon-je / AFP)

TOKYO/SEOUL – The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said on Sunday a push for further sanctions following its fifth and biggest nuclear test was "laughable", and vowed to continue to strengthen its nuclear power.

The isolated state on Friday set off its most powerful nuclear explosion to date, saying it had mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile, ratcheting up a threat that its rivals and the United Nations have been powerless to contain.

A US special envoy met with Japanese officials on Sunday and said later the US may launch unilateral sanctions against the DPRK, echoing comments by US President Barack Obama on Friday in the wake of the test.

"The group of Obama's running around and talking about meaningless sanctions until today is highly laughable, when their 'strategic patience' policy is completely worn out and they are close to packing up to move out," state-run KCNA news agency cited a DPRK foreign ministry spokesman as saying in a statement later on Sunday.

"As we've made clear, measures to strengthen the national nuclear power in quality and quantity will continue to protect our dignity and right to live from augmented threats of nuclear war from the United States," KCNA added.

The UN Security Council denounced the DPRK's decision to carry out the test and said it would begin work immediately on a resolution. The US, Britain and France pushed for the 15-member body to impose new sanctions.

Obama said after speaking by telephone with President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday that they had agreed to work with the Security Council and other powers to vigorously enforce existing measures and to take "additional significant steps, including new sanctions".

"We will be working very closely in the Security Council and beyond to come up with the strongest possible measure against North Korea's latest actions," said US envoy Kim on Sunday.

"In addition to action in the Security Council, both the US and Japan, together with the Republic of Korea, will be looking at unilateral measures, as well as bilateral measures, as well as possible trilateral cooperation," he said.

The ROK’s top nuclear envoy also spoke to his Chinese counterpart late on Saturday by telephone and emphasized the need for fresh countermeasures including a new UN security council resolution during their call, the ROK foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ROK said on Saturday that the latest test showed the DPRK's nuclear capability was expanding fast and that DPRK leader Kim Jong Un was unwilling to alter course.

Another KCNA report on Sunday said people of the DPRK were "delighted" by the nuclear test.

"The enemies can no longer deny the strategic position of our country as a nuclear weapons state," Jong Won Sop, a teacher at the University of National Economy, was quoted as saying.

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