North Korea defiant over third nuclear test
SEOUL – North Korea has vowed “high-profile measures” in the latest in a series of threats sparked by a tightening of UN sanctions, state media said Sunday, suggesting it was determined to press ahead with a third nuclear test.
The warning by leader Kim Jong-Un came a day after Pyongyang said the planned test was a “demand of the people” following sanctions adopted last week in response to the North’s defiant long-range rocket launch on December 12.
In a meeting with top security officials, Kim expressed the “firm resolution to take substantial and high-profile important state measures” in light of the “grave situation” of the peninsula, state TV said.
It did not elaborate on the measures, an apparent reference to its plans to conduct a nuclear test even as China and the US have sought to pressure Pyongyang into backing down.
It accused the United States of leading “unprecedented anti-North moves” at the United Nations and hampering the North’s efforts for economic development by slapping more sanctions.
“This fact proved once again that the (North) should defend its sovereignty by itself. It became clear that there can be no denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula before the world has been denuclearised,” state TV said.
Top officials including military chief Hyon Yong-Chol, the head of the army’s politburo Choe Ryong-Hae and spy chief Kim Won-Hong attended the meeting, it added.
The North has stepped up hostile rhetoric against Seoul and Washington since the UN Security Council resolution that expanded the number of North Korean entities on an international blacklist.
The United States, supported by Japan and South Korea, spearheaded the new UN resolution prompted by the North’s rocket launch, which Pyongyang insists was a peaceful mission to send a satellite into orbit.
But the rest of the world sees it as a ballistic missile test banned under UN resolutions triggered by the North’s past nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
North Korea’s top military body last week threatened to conduct a third nuclear test and boost its ability to strike the United States but it did not specify a time frame.