N Korea threatens more nuclear tests
North Korea ramped up its bellicose rhetoric against the United States and its allies yesterday, threatening nuclear tests and more long-range missiles as part of its struggle against its “sworn enemy”.
“We are not hiding that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets will be launched, and a high-level nuclear test will be carried out in the new phase of the anti-US struggle, targeting the US, the sworn enemy of the Korean people,” North Korea’s national defence commission said, according to state news agency KCNA.
“We will launch an all-out action to foil the hostile policy toward the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea being pursued by the US and those dishonest forces following the US, and safeguard the sovereignty of the country and the nation,” it said.
The warlike statement came a day after the 15-member UN Security Council agreed to the US-backed Resolution 2087, which censures and sanctions North Korea for a rocket launch in December that broke UN rules.
The resolution was also backed by China, the North’s only significant ally. China also backed resolutions in 2006 and 2009 after Pyongyang’s two earlier nuclear tests.
Those resolutions banned the North from developing missile and nuclear technology.
There had been hopes that Kim Jong-un, the young successor to the late Kim Jong-Il, might follow a different, more reform-minded course from that of his father.
The nuclear programme is driven by the military and the unceasing importance of the atomic weapons programme shows that the military is still calling the shots in North Korea.
North Korea is reckoned to have the makings of between six and a dozen plutonium warheads, although estimates vary, and intelligence reports suggest it has been enriching uranium to supplement that arsenal and give it a second way of making atomic weapons.
Beijing had chaired a series of six-party dialogues aimed at ending the nuclear stand-off on the Korean peninsula, which included both Koreas, China, the US, Japan and Russia.
Pyongyang ruled out any resumption of the stalled talks.
China’s foreign ministry called for calm, but insisted on the need for any resolution to come via the six-party talks.
“We hope the relevant party can remain calm and act and speak in a cautious and prudent way and not take any steps which may further worsen the situation,” spokesman Hong Lei said.
The statement comes at a time when nerves are jittery over an ongoing row between China and Japan over disputed islands, and tensions between China and other neighbours over territories in the South China Sea.